Church Planter Samvel Minasyan overlooks the city of Yerevan in Armenia
You may enjoy the ministry of the White Wing Messenger, but you can also help others receive a fresh dose of inspiration, instruction, and encouragement each month as well. Pastors, leaders, and readers—take advantage of our special bundle pricing of $10 per subscription (in groups of five) to use in some of the following ways:
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l o o T y r t s i n i M a as To order a bundle subscription, use the form on page 31 or visit www.whitewingmessenger.org. WWW.WHITEWINGMESSENGER.ORG
Contents w w w w November 2011 • Volume 88, Number 5
Bringing honor to the WORD by the printed word, the White Wing Messenger strives to inspire Christian thought and practice as it imparts the “good news” of the Gospel while serving the connectivity needs of our church community.
Calendar of Events December 2–3, 2011 Youth Harvest Training • Puerto Rico Operationomega.org January 19–21, 2012 Youth Harvest Training Dominican Republic Operationomega.org January 20–22, 2012 CBL School of Practical & Advanced Studies I Kentucky (tentative)
January 23–26, 2012 CBL School of Practical & Advanced Studies II Brazil
6 Holiness: The Forgotten Evangelistic Mandate by Dr. Wallace Pratt
9 Pursuing Holiness by Tim McCaleb
25 Women’s: Praying Through the Problems
10 The Spirit of Holiness by Carswell Leonard
26 Children’s: The Olive Generation
12 Holiness and Sanctification: A Command
28 CBL: Leadership Development in Europe
by James Kolawole
14 Missing the Forest by Daniel Chatham
20 Do We Believe God or Not? An Excerpt from Where the Road Leads
24 Stories of Sharing Jesus: Last Stop
Ministries 18 Spotlight on Holiness: Resources and Reflections from the Tomlinson Center 22 Youth: Transferring Our Holiness Faith at Home 23 Harvest Partners: Make a Difference
4 Facing Forward: Refiner’s Fire by Randall E. Howard, General Overseer 31 Messages: Hollywood Calling by DeWayne Hamby, Managing Editor
Updates 5 News: Here & There 29 Local/State/International News In His Presence Visit us online—www.whitewingmessenger.org
White Wing Messenger Editorial Board: Londa Richardson, Chair; Daniel Chatham; Hanny Vidal; Cervin McKinnon; Perry Horner; Tapio Sätilä; Shaun McKinley; and Adrian Varlack
Executive Editor/Publisher: R. E. Howard, Managing Editor: DeWayne Hamby, Copy Editor: Marsha Robinson, Editorial Assistant: Pamela Praniuk, Graphic Artists: Perry Horner and Sixto Ramirez, International Offices (423) 559-5100, and Subscriptions (423) 559-5114 Please submit all material to the White Wing Messenger; Managing Editor; P. O. Box 2910; Cleveland, TN 37320-2910; phone (423) 559-5128; e-mail us at Editorial@cogop.org.
February 7–12, 2012 CBL School of Practical & Advanced Studies I & II Cayman Islands (tentative) February 17–19, 2012 Northeast Youth Conference Mass Mutual Convention Center Springfield, Massachusetts Operationomega.org February 17–19, 2012 Pacific Islands Ladies Retreat Waikiki, Hawaii February 20–24, 2012 CBL School of Practical & Advanced Studies II Campeche, South Mexico February 22–26, 2012 CBL School of Practical & Advanced Studies II Chile March 15–17, 2012 CBL School of Practical & Advanced Studies I South Carolina March 16–18, 2012 Southeast Youth Conference Ridgecrest, North Carolina Operationomega.org White Wing Messenger (ISSN 0043-5007) (USPS 683-020) is published monthly as the official publication of the Church of God of Prophecy, 3750 Keith St NW, Cleveland, TN. Send all materials for publication to Editorial Department; PO Box 2910, Cleveland, TN 37320-2910; e-mail: editorial@cogop. org, fax: (423) 559-5121. For subscription rates, visit wwm.cogop.org; call (423) 559-5114; e-mail: email@example.com. Subscription rate: $18.00 per year, payable to White Wing Messenger by check, draft, or money order. Periodical postage paid at Cleveland, TN 37311 and at additional mail office. Donations for the White Wing Messenger may be sent to the above address. All scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise indicated. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to White Wing Messenger, PO Box 2910, Cleveland, TN 37320-2910.
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Wherever there is a renewal of the Holy Spirit in a church, a city, or even a nation, there will be marked signs of life transformation where the lives of believers become more like our holy God.
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Carmen Casey wrote in her article in the booklet, Foundations for Facing Forward: Holiness, that the fire of the Spirit would change the substance that is on fire. That is possibly the most direct and simple way to describe how the Spirit of God works to produce holiness in the life of a believer. Under His influence we are changed, constantly being transformed, step by step, as the Spirit’s fire burns and works in us. The illustration of the refiner’s fire is a favorite Scripture example to describe this process (Malachi 3:3). The ore of a fine metal such as gold is heated in the fire. Impurities are burned away as they cannot stand the intense heat of the fire. The gold ore is melted and changes from hard and brittle metal to molten ore, easily poured and formed. The fire continues to purify until the reflection of the refiner can be seen looking on. So the fire of God is at work to purify all believers who will not resist or run from the intense heat of God’s Spirit fire process at work. God’s fire in the soul burns out impurities once comfortable in their cold, dark recesses. The Spirit fire melts all hardness of heart and makes the believer pliable, malleable, and easily poured into the forms of God’s will and purpose. And the consuming fire of God will not stop until the reflection of Father God is seen upon the purified believer’s life. Certainly the Holy Spirit, like the fire
of God, is a primary agent in the holiness of the child of God. Romans 15:16 says, “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” It is possible that due to our long heritage as a Pentecostal body, it may have been overlooked that a believer is sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Paul and Peter both use the phrase “Sanctification of the Spirit” as they write about believers (2 Thessalonians 2:13 and 1 Peter 1:2). Surely we know that the Bible calls Him the Holy Spirit and so it is logical that wherever He is present He will be active in bringing forth holiness in the life of believers. As the baptism of the Holy Spirit has become more widespread around the world, there are many dynamic aspects of His ministry that attract attention. Yet we should always remember that wherever there is a renewal of the Holy Spirit in a church, a city, or even a nation, there will be marked signs of life transformation where the lives of believers become more like our holy God. May the Body of Christ today drink in and “be filled” with the wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit. As we do, our lives will more closely reflect Christ and His holiness to a watching world.
Belief Without Commitment? A recent article in USA Today centered on a Barna Research Group study that found more people than ever claim to be Christian and headed to heaven while following their own moral codes and dismissing traditional religious commitments. In the article, George Barna says “We are a designer society. We want everything customized to our personal needs—our clothing, our food, our education.” The article continues to tie that trend to religion. In Barna’s new book Futurecast, all findings regarding faith practices spiraled downward except thoughts on the afterlife. More claimed to have accepted Christ (35 percent in 1991 to 41 percent in 2011) while less attended church (49 percent in 1991 and 40 percent in 2011). Bible reading, volunteerism in church, Sunday school attendance and belief in biblical inerrancy were also reported to have declined. “People say, ‘I believe in God. I believe the Bible is a good book. And then, I believe whatever I want’,” Barna said.
—Source: USA Today, September 14, 2011
Church authors will have a new option to promote their books at the 2012 International Assembly, thanks to the White Wing Christian Bookstore. During the Assembly, being held in July 2012, interested authors may be able to rent tables within the bookstore area to sell, promote, or conduct their own book signing. For a table and further information, authors should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For those interested in more than a table for other items besides books, booth space will again be available in the exhibitor’s area at a discounted rate for COGOP members. For information concerning an exhibitor’s booth, send inquiries to email@example.com. A limit of two books per author will be permitted at the author’s table inside the bookstore.
Authors Invited to Promote Books at Assembly
Two weeks before Christmas 2010, my daughter, Debbie, was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a mother, I began to pray. In January she started chemo. They removed three lymph nodes from underneath her arm. They performed a PET scan and discovered it was bad. For five and a half months, she went through chemo. She lost her hair, she got sick. On June 17th, she had a double mastectomy. Waiting was hard; it was a seven and a half hour surgery. They also removed an ovary. When the surgery was over, the doctor came to talk to her husband, her father, and me. Her doctor was very surprised the surgery went so well with no problems. On the 22nd, she went to her oncologist. She told my daughter the tests (three of them) revealed she had no cancer. She was cancer free. I want to thank my sister, Jenna, for asking everyone to pray for my daughter. So many people were praying. She is still healing on the outside and please continue praying for her. We serve a good God, a “healing Jesus.” —Pat Hooker
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Feature At the height of the holiness movement in the 19th century, there was also the birth of another movement that would eventually, in modern times, eclipse the greatest spiritual evangelistic movement in America. It began with a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher named William James. First trained as a physician, he graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1869. He was a proficient writer who wrote hundreds of articles and studies. He is also considered the founder of pragmatism. But none of these accomplishments compares with his work, philosophy, and pluralism. In the end, his writings and philosophies regarding spiritualism, free will, instincts, the mind, and emotions paved the way for the modern terms “holism” or “holistic.”1 Now, 100 years after his death in 1910, his theories have influenced not only modern medicine and psychology, but dominate the thinking of many ministers and churches. Consequently, holism is adhered to more vigorously and consistently than holiness. Truth be told, “holistic healing” is now more practiced in the western world than divine healing. Before moving forward, it may be necessary to define what holism or holistic means: “1. of or relating to holism. 2. emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts. 3. concerned with wholes rather than analysis or separation into parts: holistic medicine; holistic ecology. 4. of or relating to the medical consideration of the complete person, physically, psychologically, or spiritually in the treatment of a disease or mental sickness.”2 This entire philosophy began as a search by William James for the cause of his cardiac pain and a frequent sickness that left him sailing to Europe to find some kind of solution. Today the entire spectrum of the holistic principle and philosophy has evolved through the contributions of many philosophers and physicians who also believe in herbal treatments. Throughout the life of William James, the investigation of mystical experience was a constant influence.3 Having understanding of the above facts will contribute to our subject of holiness. Is holism the same as holiness? Were the apostles simply too ignorant to grasp the holistic approach to life? Does the
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The Forgotten Evangelistic WWW.WHITEWINGMESSENGER.ORG
Dr. Wallace Pratt Biblical Doctrine & Polity Committee Chairman
church need to have a more holistic approach to life instead of just teaching and pursuing holiness? These are critical questions and those who minister to people will have to examine these questions. But first, let us read what Paul says about holiness: “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life” (Romans 6:17–22 NKJV). This passage plainly indicates that holiness is intricately connected to the message of salvation and sanctification. And this doctrine of the apostles encompassed the truth of holiness that they were delivering both to unbelievers and those who were Christians. Almost 30 years ago, a denominational conference was held where “sociologists of religion” gathered to discuss the subject of “the holistic approach to ministry in the church.” While there were some excellent presentations, others strongly embraced a departure from traditional holiness as an effective method of evangelism. The result of that meeting upon a conservative-evangelical church organization was devastating. While it resulted in many new ministries implemented to provide food, clothing, medical help, and shelters for the poor, it also further distanced them from a declaration of the gospel in radically transforming lives. Any keen observer (as many young people have pointed out to me over the last few years) could state emphatically the famine of hearing “holiness preaching” that can eradicate sin, provide instantaneous healing, and completely alter the course of a new convert’s life. As one young man shared
with me a few months ago, “We are hearing more and more ‘self-help’ messages that are simply ‘feel good’ sermons with no transforming power.” His observation may seem critical to some of us, but his sincerity and concern evidenced a hunger for preaching that liberates the whole man from a ruined and dysfunctional life. Holiness is the key factor of the forgotten evangelistic mandate. Two examples in Scripture stand out as witnesses for the preaching of holiness as an evangelistic mandate to every generation. In Luke 8:26–29, the story is told of the Gadarene demoniac whose condition was horrible. Verse 27 describes the tragic consequences of sin in the life of this man: “And when he (Jesus) went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long
How do we appreciate the holistic approach to medicine and psychological sicknesses where beneficial without neglecting or abandoning our greatest evangelistic mandate—holiness? time, and wore no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.” Later on, confronted by the Holy One with the power to instantly deliver this man from his pathetic condition, it reads in verse 35: “Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.” Is this kind of transformational work by the Holy One available to all believers today so that we can not only lead a man or woman to accept the Gospel but instantaneously transform his or her life? WWM N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 1
Feature The second passage is John 5:1–15 where Jesus encounters an impotent, lame man at the pool of Bethesda. Here Jesus finds a man that was unable to walk for more than 38 years, a condition that would leave a person’s legs deformed and useless. Jesus asks him a specific question (v. 6): “Wilt thou be made whole?” Jesus commands him to take up his bed and walk; an action he was not able to perform even if an angel were to have troubled the waters (as legend had proclaimed). He is cured and does exactly as Jesus commands him to do. Faced with religious critics who saw his healing as breaking the Sabbath, Jesus encounters him again in the temple with a reminder as to what the evangelistic mandate is all about. He says, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (v. 14). At this good news, the man begins to proclaim that he has been made whole by Jesus. In the original language the term is hygies.4 It has both a literal and figurative sense implying not only wellness, but sound or whole. In imparting the power of the holy to this man’s being, he is both delivered in body and in soul (as evidenced in his sins being forgiven). There is no doubt that people have been blessed by the holistic approach to medicine and psychology that encourages physicians and counselors to look at the whole person rather than just the apparent maladies in the physical body or mind. There is no question that the church locally and corporately has frequently neglected the actual medical, physical, mental, or emotional needs of people. Pentecostals have one of the worst records in ignoring these needs.5 If we are to be a true reflection of the ministry of reconciliation to humankind in our world, then we must become more involved in every part of the suffering of humanity. In this manner, we cannot tolerate any longer among us a nonchalant attitude or evasive tactic concerning the growing epidemic of violence, poverty, abuse, suffering, depression, and homelessness right around the corner from our churches. These too are part of holiness and this was exhibited by entries in the journal of John Wesley. He wrote: “I reminded the United Society that many of
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Holism may seem attractive and modern, but if it ignores the power of God to deliver a person who is sick or entrapped in an unholy and destructive life, then it is not just a philosophy; it is a lie. our brethren and sisters had not needful food; many were destitute of convenient clothing; many were out of business, and that without their own fault; and many sick and ready to perish: that I had done what in me lay to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to employ the poor, and to visit the sick but was not, alone, sufficient for these things; and therefore desired all whose hearts were as my heart. . . .”6 At this point, John Wesley gives extensive planning on each Tuesday evening how they will gather to give account one to another on how they have done each day the past week and to consult how they can go farther to meet these needs. The irony of the situation occurs when we as ministers of the Gospel begin to neglect the powerful preaching of biblical holiness that affords benefits beyond conversion. It is so tempting to begin to have a tendency of counseling where we need to be praying for deliverance. It is often more convenient to send someone to a doctor than to pray the “fervent prayer” that “availeth much.” Frankly, it is more practical to get a struggling believer into a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program than to sacrifice our time or reputation into seeking divine deliverance that will “cleanse them from all unrighteousness.” In reality, we are enticed or seduced into other humanistic methods rather than seeking for a sanctifying purging that will bring annihilation to a sinful lifestyle. In reality, no amount of holistic philosophy
can deal with the gripping trap of the homosexual lifestyle like the holy blood of Jesus that can eradicate the old and leave them new. There you have the honest dilemma facing today’s ministers and churches. How do we appreciate the holistic approach to medicine and psychological sicknesses where beneficial without neglecting or abandoning our greatest evangelistic mandate—holiness? With the rapid acceptance of humanism and relativism that is making everything permissible as long as it allows the individual to be free to act as they feel, the Christian must be willing to declare to unbelievers that there is a better and more complete way to victory. Holism may seem attractive and modern, but if it ignores the power of God to deliver a person who is sick or entrapped in an unholy and destructive life, then it is not just a philosophy; it is a lie (2 Timothy 3:1–5). Yes, the new person is promised by many commercials and television gurus, but only the power in Jesus Christ can recreate a holiness that grows into a life that brings honor to the Creator and the created. Finally, Paul cautions: “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24, NKJV).
1Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Vol. 6 (Kansas
City: Macmillan, 1969) “Pragmatic Theory of Truth” 427–428. 2The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2009). 3Gerald E. Meyers, William James: His Life and Thought (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001) 230. 4James Strong, Strong’s Dictionary of The Greek New Testament (Iowa Falls: Riverside Publishers). 5Ndubisi Obiorah, Pentecostalism in Public Life, October 18, 2004 (Lagos, Nigeria: CLASA) 3. 6The Works of John Wesley, Volume I. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979) 309.
In the postmodern culture of today, Christians often skew away from the Biblical term “holiness.” Their shyness seems to be rooted in the fear that they will be perceived as fanatical, legalistic, or prudish. Yet, the call to holiness for all Christians is clear and unequivocal by such statements in the Bible as “Be ye holy even as I am holy”(1 Peter 1:16) and “without holiness no man will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). There is no question that holiness is required; the pertinent questions that have to be answered are “What is holiness?” and “How do we come to be holy?”
Holiness Biblical holiness should not be confused with righteousness, although the two are closely related. Holiness has to do with the inner character or condition of the human heart. Righteousness, which is rooted in holiness, has more to do with “right” conduct in an ethical sense of uprightness. Any “right conduct” which does not grow out of holiness is a form of legalism. For example, the Pharisees were meticulous about tithing the tiniest herbs (right conduct) but neglected the holiness of the heart. Thus Jesus condemned them for washing the outside of the cup while leaving the inside full of corruption. His imperative to them was to first clean the inside of the cup or the heart (holiness) so that the outside of the cup (righteousness) would be clean also. A person may behave exemplary in many ways and, yet, have a rotten heart. For example, Jesus was clear that a person may be outwardly faithful to a spouse and be an adulterer in the heart. Such a person would not be living a holy life even though appearances might suggest otherwise. In the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew chapters five through seven, Jesus uses many examples to show his disciples that real holiness begins in the heart. Thus, one can live uprightly and not be holy, but one can never be holy and not also live uprightly. Simply put, Biblical holiness is having a clean heart. The psalmist says of God in 51:6, “You desire truth in the inward parts” and then in a few more verses he says,
“Purge me . . . wash me . . . create in me a clean heart, O God.” These verses tell us not only does God desire in us “a clean heart” but that a clean heart is a work of God. In other words, we can never produce in ourselves, by ourselves, a holy heart. It tells us that one of our roles in the pursuit of holiness is to allow the Spirit of God to show us where we are inwardly untruthful or conflicted. For example, a person may be inwardly jealous of another individual and fail to admit such a thing to themselves or to God—let alone to anyone else. In fact, outwardly he may be very nice to that person, act kindly, and have only nice things to say and yet, be eaten up with inward jealousy. The God who desires truthfulness in the inward parts wants that individual to slow down and listen to Him in prayer so that He can reveal the cruel jealousy that has taken hold of the heart. Only then, after confession and repentance can God purge, wash, and cleanse that heart of jealousy. It is this pattern that must be repeated over and over on the highway of holiness.
The ultimate goal of the Christian life is to become like Christ. We are to have His mind; we are to have His Spirit; we are to have His love, but none of these things, including His holiness, happen in us without our responding to His grace. Jesus is holiness personified. John wrote, “It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2). This verse shows us that we are participants in being made pure or holy. At times this participation may be as simple as answering the hunger and the thirst that He has initiated in our hearts or as emotionally complicated as forgiving someone who has done us wrong. But one thing is for certain: all Christians must be intentional in pursuing a holy God in order to be holy. Tim McCaleb Biblical Doctrine & Polity Committee
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The Spirit of
Holiness The Church of God of Prophecy was propelled from the last International Assembly with the mandate of “Pursuing His Spirit.” During that event, the Biblical, Doctrine and Polity Committee was entrusted to lead the church in a two-year study of biblical holiness. Our HolinessPentecostal heritage is the conflation of a commitment to personal and corporate holiness and as well as a recognition of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of individual believers and the body of Christ. As a Pentecostal body, it is important that we seek to engage the pneumatological implications in our study of holiness. As we seek to fully understand what God is doing among us through a pursuit of His Spirit, it is
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critical that we understand that our pursuit of the Spirit of God is in fact a pursuit of the Spirit of holiness. In Romans chapter one, Paul uses the unique designation, “Spirit of holiness”, as he expounds on how the resurrection of Jesus was the fulfillment of the Gospel (good news) that God had promised. In verse four he says, “And who through the Spirit of holiness (emphasis added) was declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.” This identification of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of holiness was ostensibly integral to Paul’s understanding of the righteousness of God – the same righteousness that was active in the resurrection as well as Paul’s separation (sanctification) unto the Gospel. WWW.WHITEWINGMESSENGER.ORG
The designation “of holiness” in relation to the Holy Spirit refers to both His character and His work. The Holy Spirit works the righteousness of God through the power of the resurrection of Christ. It was the witness of the Spirit through the resurrection which became the ultimate declaration of the relationship of Jesus with the Father (declared to be the Son of God). It was the same work of the Spirit that caused Paul to declare, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). True holiness is the product of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit and less concerned with outward appearance or behavior. It is the Spirit that bears witness of this holy relationship. Such a relationship is only possible through the Spirit of holiness, and by which we are called to be saints (holy ones). The divine mandate, “Be ye holy” is an ontological call that has to do primarily with our being. It is this internal transformation that informs and inspires the external manifestations of the creative work of the Spirit in our lives. In this context, the work of the Spirit of holiness is seen in three ways.
The Spirit Produces Our Holiness
Holiness in the lives of believers is never the product of human agency. Holiness is not solely moral rectitude or ethical excellence. It cannot be measured by works (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Holiness is the formation of the character of God in the life of the believer. This character cannot be comprehended or attained by human intellect or volition. The Holy Spirit reveals and accomplishes this character in us through our union with Christ. In this union, Christ is “formed in us” (Galatians 4:19). The Holy Spirit is the architect of this formation and transformation. Holiness is the spiritual fruit of the believer—it is the natural product of the sanctified life (Romans 6:22). Just as the flesh produces the fruit of that which is unholy, the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of that which is holy (Galatians 5: 19–23). The Holy Spirit produces holiness because He is holiness. Holiness is the creative work of the Spirit. From the beginning, the Spirit has always been the active agent in the creative work of the Godhead (Genesis 1:2). The new life in Christ is a creation of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). Holiness, as an outgrowth of the new creation in Christ, is the product of the Spirit of holiness as He creates in us what He is in reality.
The Spirit Participates in Our Holiness
Although the Holy Spirit produces holiness in the life of the believer, every believer plays a vital role in the maintenance of the holiness relationship. The Bible
teaches us that we are to “follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14, emphasis added). Our responsibility is explicit in the divine mandate of this text. The Holy Spirit is our divine partner in the pursuit of holiness. Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the Comforter (Paraclete). The word Paraclete originally signified “called to one’s side.” Implicit in this designation of the Spirit is His participatory work in the believer’s pursuit of Christlikeness. Holiness is manifested through a continuous relationship or identification with the work of Christ in the lives of believers. The Holy Spirit participates in this relationship as we continuously walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). A genuine partnership with the Holy Spirit effectuates the work of Christ toward a life of holiness as we continually submit to that work. Both the Holy Spirit and the believer are active agents in the holiness relationship (1 Corinthians 3:9). The divine partnership with the Holy Spirit is also important because many believers are discouraged by personal failures and determine that living a holy life is impossible. However, the participation of the Spirit overcomes any human limitations (Romans 8:26) and is able to make holiness a reality in the life of every believer.
The Spirit Perfects Our Holiness
The pursuit of holiness indicates an active process. This process can be said to be teleological in nature. Simply stated, that means that it leads to an expected end (telos). The process is the means to an end and not the end itself. The end of holiness is to experience the complete glory of God—what we refer to as glorification (Romans 8:30). In Psalm 138:8 the Psalmist declared, “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me: your mercy, O LORD, endures for ever: forsake not the works of your own hands.” The perfection or completion is the work of the LORD! The same Spirit which produces and participates in our holiness will surely perfect it. The perfecting work of the Spirit is accomplished through the blood of Jesus and the Word of God. The Spirit also perfects our holiness through our complete submission and obedience to His will. May our commitment to holiness always keep us on a pursuit of the Spirit of holiness!
Carswell Leonard Biblical Doctrine & Polity Committee
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Holiness and Sanctification A Command “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:3–7). “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Hebrews 13:12). These passages emphasize sanctification and holiness which is godly character. Holiness and sanctification are closely connected. Sanctification is the promise of the Father which is the provision of Jesus Christ. It is product of the power of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is the forgiveness of sin while sanctification is the Christian experience. Justification gives you the right to heaven while sanctification gives you the fitness for heaven. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). It takes a man with a pure heart to see God. Can we have a pure heart without holiness? No! A pure heart leads to a holy life and holy life is the gateway to seeing God. Hebrews 12:14 says “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” To follow peace calls for determination, commitment, and focus. It is also imperative that every believer should be at peace
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with each other. Peace is part of sanctification and holiness manifests peace. David the psalmist asked a pertinent question in Psalm 24:3: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?” And his answer was “He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (v. 4). To ascend to the hill and the holy place of God, we must have clean hands and pure heart. In my part of Africa, when a woman suddenly lost her husband to death, she automatically becomes a suspect. She will be subjected to all kinds of inhuman treatment just to ascertain her innocence. Her hair will be shaven and she will be made to wash the corpse and drink the water after which she will sleep with the corpse overnight. If she is found to have “clean hands and a pure heart” she will live without sudden sickness or untimely death. This means she is innocent. WWW.WHITEWINGMESSENGER.ORG
Sanctification and holiness is to consecrate, make sacred, dedicate, set apart totally for God only—so that neither Satan, society, nor self has any reasonable part in that thing anymore. In western Nigeria, a man or woman can be separated, i.e. sanctified solely, to a deity. Such a person does not eat everything or wear just any color of clothes, should not tell lies, steal or do any evil because he or she is a custodian of the deity. He or she prepares and carries the sacrifices before the gods. If such a one is not of a pure heart, then she serves two masters. Such a one may not be allowed to marry because her life is dedicated to the gods or deity. To sanctify also means to make holy, free from sin, and to cleanse from moral corruption. Paul said in Hebrews 13:12, “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” Jesus, then, in order to sanctify the people and make them free from inward sin and corruption, suffered without the gate. He has shed His blood and paid the full price to provide for the sanctification/holiness of the bride of the Lamb. Just like the priest performing in the holy of holies, the Church of God must not neglect sanctification. If she undermines sanctification, she relegates to the background what her Sanctifier has provided her. We have a part to play in our holy and sanctified life. Hebrews 13:13 commands: “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach” The need to live a sanctified holy life cost Jesus Christ His own life. “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26). Unless we live a holy life, there cannot be a glorious church and peaceful family. There will be wrangling among the leadership, workers and members in the church. 1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Even when the outward body is able to abstain from and resist sin because of salvation, how about the heart? Can your heart abstain from evil? It is the heart that God is preparing for heaven. When death comes, the body will be buried but the spirit and soul will go to heaven (God). That is why we need to cleanse our heart, purged by the Lord in readiness. We have to do away with every negative thought and feeling. Abstain from everything that is detrimental to living for God. Are we still carrying a stony heart? God desires us to live a sanctified and holy life. Jesus prayed for believers’ sanctification and holy living. Ezekiel 36:26: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” The removal of the stony heart and the renewal with a new heart of flesh is sanctification. Every Christian should live a practical holiness. It is a command from the Saviour. Luke 1:75 says, “In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. Having been delivered from our enemies, we should serve God in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our lives.” We must hunger, desire, and thirst after righteousness and practical holiness. Practical holiness is living a humble life. Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Practical holiness is
complete innocence. Psalm 19:13 tells us “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” Holiness demands innocence in our place of work and community even when others are cheating and defrauding. We are expected to practice “new life.” Hindrances may come, but it takes endurance and discipline to live a new life. The mask must be removed. Many people mention the name of Jesus nowadays, who neither know Him nor are known of Him (Matthew 7:21–23; 1 Timothy 2:19). They master and even modernize the language of Zion while they are still citizens of Zidon. They cut the picture of Mary and do the practice of Jezebel (Isaiah 3:16–24). They engage in all forms of wantonness and reveling with dirty language. Boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, going on unashamedly, and when confronted, they quickly protest, “It doesn’t matter what I do or how I look, we are under grace and not under law.” Which grace? Romans 6:1, 2 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” The grace of God does not leave you the way it meets you. The uniqueness of Christianity is that it is the life of Christ in the believer, which is holiness. Is your mask the religious dress and gloomy appearance with which you cover up your inward depravity, corruption and wickedness? You have never been redeemed, but you have stayed long among God’s children like the mixed multitude (Exodus 12:38) and have enjoyed God’s goodness which should have led you to repentance (Romans 2:4). But over the years, you have contented yourself with just the external show of righteousness which only qualifies you as a whited sepulcher in the sight of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 23:27, 28). You need to be holy. Have you lost your experience but still retain the outward comportment of a Christian with holy living? Like Saul, the first king of Israel, you have lost the kingdom but still wear the regalia of the king, harboring covetousness, malice and hatred, impure thoughts, pride, unforgiveness, and a vengeful spirit. Remove the mask and begin to live the new and transparent life of holiness and righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Romans 6:1–4: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” James Kolawole Biblical Doctrine & Polity Committee
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A well-known English proverb says, “You cannot see the wood (forest) for the trees.” This maxim tells us that you can be so focused on details that you lose the big picture. This can be regrettable when walking in a wilderness and being so focused on the tree in front of us that we miss the grandeur and majesty of the forest. Unfortunately, we can also lose the big picture when we are studying Scripture. We can get lost in the details. We might ask, exactly, where is Mt. Sinai? While an interesting question, we might be missing the forest! There are other questions that tend to grab our focus. How should we live? What should we do with our lives? While important, the focus of these questions is on the immediate tree in front of us. In Scripture, the majestic forest questions are all focused on the revelation of God.
The Need for Revelation
As the Book of Genesis opens, we see the first actions known to us: God is expressing His creative nature and how the universe blossoms from nothing. The crowning pinnacle of this creative expression is Adam and Eve. They are created in His image and are capable of relating and knowing this infinite God. Yet this ability seems to be hampered as man chooses to rebel against God. Mankind’s willingness to relate and know his God is sporadic, at best. Man ends up, normally, choosing to make a god in God’s own image instead of enduring the discomfort of knowing the true God.
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Daniel Chatham Biblical Doctrine & Polity Committee
Forest This leaves man confused, needing God to reveal Himself if he is going to know God.
God Reveals His Holiness
In Exodus, we pick up the story as Moses is drawn to a bush that is burning, yet is not consumed. God uses this moment to grab Moses’ attention, but God’s purpose is not for Moses’ amusement, but a revealing encounter. “Then he said, ‘Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ And he said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God
of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God” (Exodus 3:5, 6). This encounter with God begins a flood of revelatory moments where God reveals His holy nature in contrast to the gods of Egypt in which Moses would have been influenced. In Egypt, gods were connected with, not distinct from, creation. There was a god of the sun, the Nile, the earth, and so on.1 Therefore, the problem with worship was not merely idol worship but the perception of God and His relationship with creation. God was perceived to be too much like us, and a part of us—a god created in our weakened image. It is into this worldview that God tells
Moses to remove his sandals because he is in a place that has been made holy by God’s presence.
The Holiness of God
At this burning bush, God begins to teach Moses an important lesson concerning His holy nature. Moses’ lesson: there is a distinct danger in being close to God without personally being adequately prepared. In this moment of God’s self-revelation, Moses hides from God out of fear of what he might see. Moses now understands that glaring into the holiness of God is a life-changing experience that is both comforting and fearful, simultaneously. This event gives us the beginning of the understanding of the term “holy” in Old Testament Scripture. God is completely set apart: separate from His creation. Rudolf Otto describes this type of experience as the “awful mystery” where we are drawn to God and yet desire to run from Him. In Isaiah 6, God is revealed as “high and lifted up,” a phrase that points to God’s transcendence. This is how holiness as “separate from” reveals God’s nature. God is completely separate and distinct from that which He created. He is beyond time and space, which are mere components of His creation. In God, there is no sense of need, as all of the rest of creation experiences. He is complete in His own Trinitarian nature. There is infinite moral distance from sinful man as it is impossible for God to be tempted by sin (James 1:13). God’s
reason and purpose exceed our own, as is expressed in Isaiah 55:8, 9. Later in life, Moses (Exodus 33:18–23) once again seeks to see the God from whom he hid earlier at the burning bush. He no longer desires to hide from the holy God. He now wants to peer deeper into His transcendence. This is where we should all find ourselves. Instead of being content with a god created in our image, we should allow God to confront us with His holy nature. We will have to resist the temptation to run back into the middle of the forest and get caught up in less important questions of life. Yet it is from this perspective that we will be able gaze at the intense beauty and majesty of the holy God of our own burning bush.
Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003) 467.
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Spotlight on Holiness Resources and Reflections from the Tomlinson Center
“Holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD” (Hebrews 12:14) As a follow-up to the 2010 Assembly, our special guest, Dr. Steven J. Land, of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, created a special seminar on the subject of holiness, “Holiness: Doctrine and Practice” for Church of God of Prophecy leaders. I was convinced very early of its potential for effectiveness and a great response. Along with many from the International Offices, we had state and regional overseers, senior pastors and other great leaders from around the United States and the Bahamas.
I was not raised in a Christian home, except for the “thought” of being Christians. We were not even a part of the Christmas/Easter crew that attended spasmodically. My grandfather was a Jehovah’s Witness preacher and my father was a Mormon priest. With the occasional visits to Baptist Vacation Bible Schools and Methodist Sunday schools, I lacked indoctrination and inculcation as to the doctrine of holiness. At the age of fifteen, I visited a Pentecostal Holiness Church, being invited by a classmate. The emphasis was to be “saved,” but then one must be sanctified before being filled with the Holy Ghost. Their instruction, “He will not dwell in an unclean temple” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Their instruction continued, “You belong to God but you need to be cleansed” (2 Timothy 2:21). My personal experience, holiness, is for the most part, what you didn’t do, not so much what you did do. My journey soon led me to the COGOP where I was called
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into the ministry at the age of 17. It was then that I assumed the responsibility of what “holiness” means, as now I must teach and train others. I have been interested and sometimes amused as to how others may teach and train others. I knew this class would become a valuable part of this journey.
Where Do We Go from Here?
I found it interesting when Dr. Hollis Gause shared as a guest lecturer during the class that sanctification is not so much as a date we mark on a calendar. When we (COGOP ministers) complete our regular reports, we are asked how many were sanctified. Perhaps the focus is not the date of the initial prayer but daily walking in holiness. We could say, in a sense, I was sanctified: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). I’m being sanctified: “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31); “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30); “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). I will be sanctified: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24).
A Better Understanding of Clear Scriptural Commands
Just as He was holy, “. . . tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15 NIV), “He committed no sin . . . “ (1 Peter 2:22 NIV), “For he hath made him to WWW.WHITEWINGMESSENGER.ORG
be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21), “. . . so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin” (1 John 3:5 NIV), we are called to be holy. “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14 NIV). This may be understood in two ways. One, in an eschatological way of thinking, if you don’t live holy, you will not live with Him in eternity. Two, in present day, if you don’t live holy, you will not see the Lord in this world daily, hearing His voice (John 10:3, 4, 16, 27), walking with Him (1 John 2:6; 1 Peter 2:21), in present relationship with Him. There are many other verses that overwhelm us with the fact we must live holy daily. I will only mention a few. “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” (1 Thessalonians 4:7 NIV). “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love” (Ephesians 1:4 NIV).
(Philippians 3:13), “looking forward” (2 Peter 3:13), “continue,” “abide,” “remain,” (1 John 2:24), “run” (1 Corinthians 9:25–27; 1 Thessalonians 2:19–20; Hebrews 12:1–3; 2 Timothy 2:5), “press” (Philippians 3:14), “endure” (Matthew 24:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Timothy 2:3; 2 Timothy 2:10, 4:5), “make every effort” (Luke 13:24; Romans 14:19; Ephesians 4:3; Hebrews 4:11; Hebrews 12:14; 2 Peter 3:14). —H.E. Cardin, M.Div., D.Min. Tomlinson Center Director
A Better Understanding of Participation and Not Pronouncement
Our Calvinistic brethren focus on their fact of our being “pronounced” righteous. Perhaps we have carried their thought from salvation (of which, being Arminian, we reject) but secretly or subconsciously apply this to sanctification. I left the class to board a plane for a youth retreat with a book I’ve had in my possession for some time, The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges (Navpress Publishing, February 1996). This simple read painted a very clear picture of our participation in this pursuit of holiness. Bridges uses an illustration of our pursuit of holiness that is like the partnership between God and a farmer. A farmer plows his field, sows the seed, and fertilizes and cultivates, all the while knowing that in the final analysis he is utterly dependent on forces outside himself. He knows he cannot cause the seed to germinate, nor can he produce the rain and sunshine for growing and harvesting the crop. For a successful harvest, he is dependent on these things from God. Yet the farmer knows that unless he diligently pursues his responsibilities to plow, plant, fertilize, and cultivate, he cannot expect a harvest at the end of the season. In a sense, he is in a partnership with God and he will reap its benefits only when he has fulfilled his responsibilities. Just as farming is a joint venture between man and God in which man cannot do what God must do and God will not do what the farmer should do, so too is the pursuit of holiness. God will not bestow a life of holiness upon us the day we are saved. He requires that we pursue holiness with the confidence that He will work with us and empower us to achieve the desire of our hearts. He gives us the power to do what he requires and expects of us. Simply put, God calls us to be like Him. This caused me to be more sensitive about Bible language used in this pursuit. These are examples: “reaching forth”
The CIMS Course: “Introducing the Great Themes of Scripture” This is a two credit-hour course that covers the subject of holiness. During our special class at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, Dr. Hollis Gause and Dr. Steven J. Land lectured on the subject. There are DVD’s available (via the CIMS course, not from our time together).
DVD Four ($12.50) “Forgiveness: Part 2,” “Perfection and Being Holy,” “Perfection in the New Testament,” R. Hollis Gause, Ph.D., Steven J. Land, Ph.D.
DVD Five ($12.50) “Holiness in God and in the Believer,” “Holiness and Fire” “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, Revealed in the Old Testament” R. Hollis Gause, Ph.D., Steven J. Land, Ph.D.
DVD CIMS 2070 “Introducing the Great Themes of Scripture” is a Biblical Theology course. It is an introduction to principle streams of biblical theology. Emphasis is placed on the relationship of major themes in theology as they relate to ministry in the contemporary church (two CIMS credits).
Contact our office for more information: H. E. Cardin, M.Div., D.Min., Tomlinson Center Director; Church of God of Prophecy International Offices; P. O. Box 2910; Cleveland, Tennessee 37320-2910; Office (423) 559-5324, Fax (423) 559-5461; TCCOGOP@aol.com; www.TomlinsonCenter.Com; http://www.TomlinsonCenter.Com WWM N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 1
Do We Believe An excerpt from Where the Road Leads
Growing up, Larisa Kernozhytska heard stories about her parents and grandparents. For the most part, they were not happy stories of better days, but terrible accounts of the horrors of persecution and the extreme hardship of war and life under Communist occupation. Even as a child, Larisa often thought that someone should write down the accounts of the suffering and the amazing miracles that God performed for her family. When her own children were young, she had a longing for them to hear the ways that God had kept her family alive by His power and provision. She wanted them to know their spiritual heritage began in traditional Ukranian orthodoxy but the Holy Spirit used disappointment to lead her grandfather to search for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She wanted them to hear how her grandmother miraculously escaped Nazi troops and spent years in a Russian orphanage. She wanted to preserve the story of her grandfather saving an entire village from the Nazis by a miraculous visitation of the Holy Spirit. All of these stories, and many more, can be found in Larisa’s newly released book, Where the Road Leads. Below is an excerpt from this inspiring book: “This is a true story of three generations of my family who have endured the struggles of war, existed under the invasion of godless oppressors, survived the cruelty of concentration work camps and separation from family, lived under Communism, and managed family life with extreme poverty. As a child, I listened to many heartwrenching stories of my parents living under the horrors of the Soviet regime as well as them telling me stories about my grandparents. Often I thought how wonderful it would be if someone could write about the stories I was hearing. “Originally, I decided to write this book because I yearned for my children and my siblings’ children to know these same true stories that had touched my heart when I was young. I did not want these wonderful stories to be lost and disappear when my parents were no longer alive. I long for my children to be appreciative for simple but extremely important things that many people take
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for granted like bread, clothing, and freedom. I want them to learn from their heritage to be grateful and be able to praise God no matter what trials may come their way. I desire for them to be thankful their lives are not surrounded by the agonies, terror, and destruction of war as had been there surrounding the lives of their grandparents and great-grandparents in my country, the Ukraine. We have a saying in my country that is the result WWW.WHITEWINGMESSENGER.ORG
God or Not? Larisa Kernozhytska
of all that took place during WWI and WWII. Often we say, ‘May we have a peaceful sky!’ This means, ‘may no bombs drop on us!’ “My original intent was to write for the benefit of my children and relatives, but as I put these amazing stories on paper, I realized these stories could bless other people. It is my hope that everyone who reads our family’s stories will not read them as stories, but will find lessons from the lives and experiences of these simple, humble people who trusted God in the most difficult times. Perhaps the reader can learn from these who remained faithful and persevered in difficult times to also remain faithful to God in hard times.” Larisa tells of the long, adventurous journey of faith that brought her grandfather to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. After he was saved, the Lord called him to preach. He soon discovered his need for Bible training. He and several other Ukranian ministers travelled to Germany to attend Bible school. “One day the director of the Bible school called all the students together and said, ‘Unless a miracle happens, everyone will have to leave before the planned date because we have run out of money.’ “At first everyone was shaken by the thought of having to return home since they knew they were still unable to confidently lead their flocks. One of the upper classmen called all of the men together. ‘We have been spending our time in the book of Philippians. Do we believe God or not? Do you not remember Paul tells us in that last chapter, Our God supplies all our needs in Christ Jesus according to His riches in glory?’ “Believing God and His Word, the students decided to pray for a miracle. As dinnertime approached, no one was cooking, and the kitchen was dark because there was no food. Suddenly there was a knock at the door.
A middle-aged woman stood there with baskets in her hand inquiring, ‘Perhaps, you need some food? We were planning to have a celebration, but it has been cancelled. If you don’t take it, we’ll have to throw it all away’. “The students were overwhelmed with the obvious hand of God providing them manna from heaven. No dinner had ever tasted so good. They had experience an immediate, visible answer to prayer. There was enough food to take them through lunch and dinner, but nothing was left for breakfast. So, that evening, they prayed again with a larger measure of faith. “Early in the morning the school received a phone call from America. The unknown caller asked to speak to the director, who stood amazed with his mouth open when he heard, ‘I have just sold a big house here in America. I have heard of your school and all you are doing to train you pastors. God put the desire in my heart to donate money to your Bible school. I’m writing you the funds today.’ “The generous provision assured the school administrators they would be able to continue training young men, and confirmed to the Bible school students that God would daily supply all their need. Their motto became Matthew 6:33: ‘Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ “News of the miracles that were happening at the Bible school spread far beyond its walls. One day a German brought his demon-possessed son to them. ‘Would you kindly pray for deliverance for my son who has suffered from demonic tormentors and has almost destroyed our home?’ the father begged as he knew of nowhere else to go for help. “Oleksiy and the other students fervently prayed for the boy. God’s power delivered him. The grateful and wealthy father, who because of the joy of having his son freed from the demons, supported the Bible school for a long time afterward. During their six months at the Bible school, the Christians from Ukraine became well-armed with Scripture and its application. Experiencing multiple answers to prayer, they grew in faith and wisdom, becoming equipped to minister more effectively back home.” Where the Road Leads is available for ordering from the White Wing Christian Resource Center—1-800-221-5027. WWM N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 1
Transferring Our Holiness Faith at Home
When and where you first encounter the Gospel makes a difference in how receptive you are to the Gospel. In books such as Already Gone: Why Your Kids Are Leaving Church, statistics state that conversion and spiritual formation has to happen in a student’s life by the time they are sixteen or it is unlikely that they will ever be converted. This is a daunting challenge to the parent or leader of a teenager who is overwhelmed with the strong influence of popular culture. Students need to be taught the Scriptures and the tenets of our faith. In fact, it is our responsibility as leaders and parents to ensure that they are instructed to know we are transferring a sustainable faith to them. When faith is effectively transferred, there should be no question in a student’s mind whether they can “stay saved.” While our ministries play a significant role in the spiritual formation of our students, it is imperative that we recognize that God has
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given this responsibility primarily to parents. The Shema so clearly reminds us of this: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4–9 NIV). Therefore, as leaders, our roles should be supplementary to both student and parent, rather than primary. In the absence of a faith-filled home however, our role becomes more primary. Our holiness faith can and must be transferred in the home. First, we will have to cultivate a spiritual environment. Not only are we to share our values and beliefs with our students, but we must also teach and display symbols of our faith in our homes. Family worship, prayer, and the practice of other spiritual disciplines such as fasting, corporate worship, and service to others are among some of the strong symbols of our faith. Usually once a child begins to attend school and they come into contact with classmates who do not attend church, they begin to ask, “Why do we have to go to church if Rick doesn’t? Or, “Why do we have to fast from TV and video games?” Symbols are important because they are conversation starters, particularly when students begin to make
connections and process important issues of the heart. Not only is a spiritual environment important, but time and touch are also equally important: “Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (v. 7). We must be careful to guard and where possible, increase the time spent together sharing our faith in the home with our students. Some families are already recognizing this need and are placing boundaries on the use of technology in the home, one of the biggest time-stealers of family fellowship. Where parents are willing (saved and unsaved), small group meetings in the home are also a great opportunity to give time back to families and penetrate the unsaved home with the Gospel. Similar to the parent-teacher relationship in the classroom, where teachers depend on parents to reinforce study and discipline at home, so should the leader complement the parent. While we must always strive to teach truth on a level that teens can understand, we must be careful not to water-down the important doctrines of the faith. Leaders must do their very best to partner with parents in giving students a concise, biblical understanding of marriage and family, purity, self-control, integrity, stewardship, and brotherly love. Not only must we teach it, but we must also live out these principles in our lives. And, where necessary, let us make every effort to equip parents to teach these important doctrines in our homes. Our students must embrace and receive our holy faith. This transference cannot be forced upon them, for God does not bully us into loving Him. Because of His grace, we are able to freely receive His love. Our homes must be full of grace, and that grace can and must be expressed in diverse ways. But a spiritual environment, time and touch, and strong biblical teaching have to be among the most prominent methods of transference. When this is done effectively, the expression of our faith will result in Spirit-filled students who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and strength. —Aileen Reid Youth Ministries, Co-Director WWW.WHITEWINGMESSENGER.ORG
If you feel called to missions, it might not always mean that you have to sell all that you own and move to some foreign land. There are many ways that you can accept and serve that clarion call: through intercessory prayers for our nations; communicating words of encouragement; by sacrificial giving for the sake of the Gospel going forward; and all of these can be accomplished without ever leaving the familiarity of one’s home—at least not permanently, anyway. Recently, many partners have been stepping into just such a realm. In this issue, I would like to spotlight a few areas that have been blessed by special efforts from people rolling up their sleeves and becoming more involved in mission endeavors. In Salisbury, Maryland, the Tilghman Road congregation has united their efforts by sending out two different mission work teams to totally different areas of the world—Haiti and Bulgaria. Yes, these team members raised their own funding for mission trips in order to go roll their sleeves up and participate in hard, manual labor. It is also noteworthy to mention that their Haiti Team was joined by individuals from Canada, Georgia, and Tennessee. Bulgaria’s national overseer, Bishop Peter Georgiev, wrote in response to this mission work team’s visit: “Everyone from the native people that passed by the construction wondered how it is possible for American people to come to Bulgaria and work for free in our country. The next Sunday there were many new people in the church in Vetovo and they were encouraged so much. Many of these people received Jesus Christ in their hearts that day.” You might ask, “Was it really If you would worth it?” My answer would be, “Without a doubt.” And, like to receive then you might respond, “Would they do it again?” My answer newsletters would be, “Without a doubt.” concerning You see, lives have been forever impacted on both sides of this missions from picture as our brothers and sisters from around the globe around the rejoice equally—some giving, globe, it’s “free” some receiving. How many are willing to roll your sleeves up and become by simply more involved? Whether it’s through intercessory prayer, or subscribing raising mission funds to reach to our COGOP the lost, or joining in a mission work team, let’s unite our efforts Connections to make a difference.
Harvest Partners Roll Their Sleeves Up and Make a Difference
—Annette Taylor Harvest Partners Director
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Last Stop I have been visiting the residents of the local nursing homes for over 30 years; sometimes as a representative of the Gideons International and other times to minister, often with my wife, on behalf of the Church. I started going because of the sense of loneliness that seemed so prevalent. Also, several of our church members were residents there. When they left the home I continued visiting others. One Sunday, I noticed a gentleman sitting alone. I was drawn to him with a sense of urgency, thinking he might need a kind word. During our conversation I asked him, “William, are you prepared to meet the Lord?” His answer was very vague. “I guess,” he said. “I think I did something about
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that or prayed some sort of prayer when I was a child.” I was struck with the realization that he didn’t even know for sure if he was saved. Compassion welled up in my heart because I thought that would be a miserable way to go through life! I continued, “Wouldn’t you like to know for sure that you are ready to meet the Lord?” He responded that he sure would. I invited him to pray with me. “Father, I thank you that because of what Jesus did on the cross, I can ask you to forgive my sins. Help me to know that my future after this life will be safe in Your hands. Bring me the peace that comes from having that knowledge. In Jesus name, Amen.” He thanked me and told me he felt much better about himself and his situation. The next time I returned to that center, William had been discharged.
I am so thankful that the Lord put the desire in my heart to ask him if he was prepared—if he was ready. Assisted living is the last stop for many people because some don’t return to their homes. Often they are living vague lives, not really knowing what their future holds. Jesus has made a way that they can know for sure that they are safe in Him, ready to meet Him. Thank the Lord, we don’t have to guess! I only had that brief opportunity to speak to William. I like to think that he is sitting in a church somewhere on Sundays, with a smile on his face because he now knows for sure that he is saved. I want to make sure to listen to the Lord and seize every opportunity to help others have that same peace. —Perry Horner Cleveland, Tennessee
MINISTRIES The testimony continually rising from the continent of Africa is one of revival. Often in our offices, we are blessed to receive amazing reports of evangelistic crusades and harvesting efforts from Africa as a result of our women traveling from city to city and mission to mission to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Recently we received a report out of Zimbabwe that brought great joy to my spirit. A group of women were traveling by bus to Mutare to assist and support revival efforts in a growing congregation. Along the journey, the bus they were traveling in experienced mechanical difficulties and the women were stranded by the side of the road, where they waited for someone to come and repair the vehicle. Often when something breaks down and I am sidelined to wait for someone to come and help me, I tend to move to frustration. While I would like to believe that every moment I choose to dwell in holiness, anointing, and confidence that God is indeed faithfully and intentionally arranging for “all things [to] work together for [my] good” (Romans 8:28), the reality is that my frustration usually moves into aggravation and concludes with complaint. Thank God for women of purpose and power in Zimbabwe who, at least for this moment, became a testimony and an example for us. As they waited for help to arrive and their vehicle to be repaired, these women moved from the sideline to the frontline and into an old-fashioned prayer meeting— literally in the middle of the field where they were stranded. As they sought the Lord for personal revelation, they also agreed for a time of life and revival in Mutare. After prayer, they gathered in worship and the Lord began building an intensity of power through their praise. Observe their faces of celebration and rejoicing upon arrival in Mutare, where they continued in ministry for revival. God comes alongside of us at unique moments to take our attention from the minor inconveniences and mechanical breakdowns in order to move us into recognition of the major workings of His Spirit for this day. The testimony of the women in Zimbabwe moves me to desire a fresh revelation of Him working in my “everyday” and challenges me to seek and dwell in communion with His power, presence, and purpose in every moment. When sidelined by the conditional and the inconvenient, may we all seek for the one grain of sand the Lord is using, coupled with a little aggravation and faith-work, which will bring forth a beautiful and treasured pearl, reflective of His work displayed in our lives.
Praying Through the Problems
The Women of Zimbabwe
—Cathy Payne International Director Women’s Ministries
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MINISTRIES One night I dreamed that I was in a large sanctuary filled with people from all over the world. After praying for an infant in his mother’s arms, children began getting up from all over the sanctuary and coming to me. Each one gave me an olive. When I woke, I knew that God had given the dream to me. After several months of praying for God to reveal the meaning of this dream, He opened my eyes to an amazing truth—the truth of the one olive. There is a call from God for the young harvest and we must ask, “Why is the Holy Spirit speaking so clearly about reaching the young?” We might easily start to work, attempting to fulfill this call. But I think we might lose sight of what God is after. This call is not a call to better programming or greater funding. It’s not even about reaching more youth and children. We can set up the best outreach ministries and the most innovative children’s programming and still not change the lives of those we serve. It is the Holy Spirit that draws us to Jesus and we must be in unity with Him and what He is doing. He is clearly telling us that these are the last days and this is the last generation. We have standing among us children who are each holding an olive. The oil of the olive is used for anointing. The anointing our children need is the same anointing that was on David. David was a very talented young man; he was a warrior, a poet, a musician, a dancer, and a leader. But when Samuel came to anoint the man God wanted to be king, he did not look for talent or abilities. He listened to God. David was anointed because he was God’s choice. “Then the Lord said, ‘rise and anoint him; he is the one.’ So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power” (1 Samuel 16:12, 13 NIV). David did not walk away from the anointing ceremony and immediately become king. He went back to work. As he worked, his talents were used (I Samuel 16:17 and 1 Samuel 17:15). He worked as a shepherd and he also served Saul as a musician. We see the effects of the anointing in David’s life. In 1 Samuel 17:37, David testifies to the fact that God delivered him from a lion and bear as he cared for his father’s sheep. We know that as David played the harp for Saul, the evil spirits left him. The anointing David received emboldened him to do mighty acts. We must also allow God to anoint this generation, not because of their talents and abilities, but because God has chosen them. Jesus shows us the beginning of a new anointing. Jesus was never anointed by a priest but he was anointed by
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God through the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38). This generation will receive the anointing that is needed from the Holy Spirit. We simply come along side and speak the words that the Holy Spirit is whispering to us concerning them. In the dream, each child was holding his olive and asking, “The Lord gave me this. What do I do now?” We are to step in and begin to press their olive into oil. Here are some facts about how olives are pressed into oil:
The best oils are made from ripe young olives that have not been damaged in the picking.
A ripe olive is endangered by the harvesters. The olives are often dropped on the ground, stepped on by harvesters, or beaten with rakes.
The olive is pressed to allow the oil to pool.
The first pressing is the best oil. This is the oil that will be used for anointing, eating and medicine.
The olive pulp that is left over is put in baskets and pressed again, a second pressing. This grade of olive oil is used for work such as fuel for lamps.
What wonderful parallels can be drawn between the olive and the young of this generation:
Their anointing is fresh and pure, undamaged by sin’s scars.
Yet, they are endangered. We as believers must be careful to protect their bodies, minds, and spirits.
They must be pressed so the oil of anointing flows freely in their lives. We can expect the Spirit to move in them and we must apply the pressure as we teach them to pray, study the Bible, be an example of right attitudes and behaviors, serve sacrificially, and more.
The second pressing is done by placing the olives under heavy weights until oil begins to flow. David walked away from Samuel knowing that he was the anointed king, but he worked for the next 15 years before he was acknowledged as king. Our children need to know who they are but then place themselves and their abilities under God’s guidance so that He can fulfill all that concerns them. As they use their talents and abilities, they can begin to dream, asking God, “What can I do for you now?”
The Olive Generation Each child holds an olive. We as believers have the opportunity to help them press their olive into the oil of anointing and pour it out in service to the Lord. —Stephanie Cheek Stephanie Cheek is the children’s pastor at the Huddleston Church of God of Prophecy in Virginia. Stephanie leads a children’s ministry team, the Chosen, who minister at community events, summer camps, VBS, and kids’ revivals. Stephanie and her husband have four children and two foster children.
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Leadership Development in Europe FRANCE
The School of Practical and Advanced Studies (SOPAS) recently launched it’s first-ever schools in Europe at the invitation of General Presbyter, Clayton Endecott. Our journey began with a school in Rousse, Bulgaria, August 24–27, 2011. The 56 students were receptive. God’s Spirit brought a rich time of prayer and manifestation as our brothers and sisters were reminded of a great time of repentance for the COGOP in the mid-1980’s. Bishop Endecott spoke to the class about the Church’s core values and vision. National Overseer Peter Georgiev provided great hospitality and leadership. In London, Pastor Tedroy Powell hosted SOPAS at the House of Bread local church September 1–4, 2011, with 115 enthusiastic students. Another rich Spirit outpouring occurred, which brought the whole school to prayer. National Overseer Wilton Powell gave high marks for the encouragement and instruction SOPAS brought to leaders in the United Kingdom. We welcomed our General Overseer, Randall Howard, and Global Outreach Director, David Bryan, who both made presentations during the London school. Bishop Bryan also presented in the Paris school. In Paris, France, the school convened September 8–11. The event was coordinated by Michael Wilson, the national administrator for France, and hosted by local pastor, Daniel Longin. Here, too, SOPAS made a positive impact, and plans are under way for a return trip to Europe for the second term. For this Europe trip, our SOPAS instructors were CBL staff members Hector Ortiz (director), Adrian Varlack, and Mark Menke teaching in English. Fellow CBL staff member Elias Rodriguez taught in Spanish, instructing 18 students during the London school. An additional SOPAS was conducted in Spain, August 25–28, with 59 in attendance. We were honored to have two more General Presbyters, Ben Feliz and Gabriel Vidal, serve as instructors in Spain.
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—Mark Menke, CBL Instructor
Idaho, Oregon, and Utah Convention Report “Awesome,” “Wonderful,” “Blessed,” “Anointed,” “Fun” . . . just a few of the many words attendees used to describe the 2011 COGOP Idaho, Oregon, Utah Regional Convention. This year the event was held in beautiful Portland, Oregon, June 23–26, with a first night record-breaking attendance and an average of 400 people at each service. We had over 600 in total attendance. “Multiplying the Harvest—Connecting Churches” was the theme of the Regional Convention. Some of the highlights of this convention were the anointed speakers and talented participants: special guest speaker Dick Withnell; the healing service; World Vision’s director, Steve Hass; IOU Regional Overseer, Dr. Wallace Pratt; and North American COGOP Presbyter, Bishop Sam Clements. The following quotes tell it all: “I love hearing the pastors of our region speak.” “I’ve never seen so many talented people in one place at one time.” “Wow…our overseer’s message really gave me a lot of encouragement and direction.” “So good to be a part of World Vision.” After, Bishop Sam Clements stirring message on Sunday morning, someone said, “I’m ready. I’m so stirred up. I could have listened to the Word all day.” The altar calls and healing service brought so many blessed results. One person said, “My son’s life was changed today. Our family is being restored.” “My nephew and girlfriend just accepted Christ into their lives.” There were also several Children’s Convention sessions arranged by regional director Judy Pratt and the reports were that these sessions were fantastic. Dick Withnell, a prominent Oregon businessman and community leader asked, “What are you going to do in the marketplace?” He challenged the IOU Region to be a Christian community that demonstrates significance in the marketplace. We all left ready and prepared to do just that and to do our best to live out the theme God gave our overseer, “Multiplying the Harvest—Connecting Churches.” Finally, we celebrated the reaching a milestone: 20 churches organized in the last six years to reach a 40 church total on our way to many more. —Maria Truett, Regional Convention Reporter
Ethiopia Kingdom Work Continues Our most recent quarter was very fruitful for the Kingdom of our Lord. In the Nekempt district, we had 80 saved and baptized 106. The Sasiga district saw 85 come to the Lord and baptized 75. In the Gimbi district, 100 were saved and 75 were baptized. This is only half of the districts. We expect to hear similar results from the Addis Ababa, Sibu Sire, and Gudaye Jare districts. In many areas, they shared in communion and feet washing. Due to proximity and other considerations, the Dire Dawa district in Eastern Ethiopia is now under the umbrella of the ministry in Djibouti. It is amazing the growth they have experienced, even considering that we are unable to support them financially with any kind of consistency. They are selfsufficient in that regard. We praise the Lord for their faithfulness to the cause of Christ!
Jamaican Music Director Releases New CD Jermaine D. Gordon, National Director of Music for the COGOP in Jamaica and Grand Cayman, has recently released his debut CD, Lord, I Surrender. Gordon has been honing his talent since age four, determined to use his gifts for the glory of the Lord. “A song is not just words to music, rather it is a part of the soul being expressed. With assigned wings it journeys from one soul to another,” he said. Gordon writes six to eight songs weekly, leads worship and directs choirs as well as playing multiple instruments, ranging from wind to percussion. He also conducts “sing-shop” sessions for young men and women in his church and creative workshops with the Oasis International Foundation. Lord, I Surrender follows the release of his instrumental CD, Led By The Spirit, and a book, The Colour and Power of Your Thoughts. For more information, visit his website at www. colouryourthoughts.com
I am sure all have heard of the great famine facing the East African nations. In addition to eastern Ethiopia, many parts of Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, and Eritrea are greatly affected. Yesterday, August 25th, according to reporter William Davison in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s government stated that “2.8 million people stand in need of assistance from the worst famine they’ve experienced in over 60 years.” According to this news release, “The Africa Union has pledged $351.7 million to assist with this need. Of the total $2.5 billion needed to combat the crisis, the African Union said in an emailed statement yesterday that only $1.1 billion has been collected so far.“ We urge the people of God to pray for all those in this region who are suffering from this crisis, especially those of the household of faith.
—Fekadu Ayele, Ethiopia National Overseer
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Myanmar New Mission Fields
The ministry of the COGOP in Myanmar is on-line with its 2020 Vision and all the church planters are actively participating in their God-given mission fields. Most of our church planters are serving the Lord in unreached areas planting new churches. God has been leading the COGOP for six years in the midst of tough times. In spite of difficulties, the church was able to celebrate its first Mission Sunday joyously on the last Sunday in July. The COGOP was established through the vital vision of Bishop Chin for making disciples and to plant churches throughout Myanmar. Consequently, it never gets tiring serving the Lord and giving for the mission task. Though our nation has never been equipped with adequate worship facilities and accommodations, it has always been enjoyable serving the Lord. In fact, the church is located in a suburb, yet most of its members are among the marginalized people, as the surrounding people are in poverty. However, their zeal for the mission task motivated them to donate enthusiastically. Therefore God used the church as a tool for planting 13 churches and nine house churches in this mostly Buddhist country. The people have been energized miraculously.
—Bishop Chin Kang Mon, Myanmar National Overseer
Cameroon Empowered by This Spirit
The church in Cameroon is doing very well and growing from glory to glory—we praise His holy name. We had two crusades in the Limbe and Kombone missions and the harvest was great. The power of God was present with healing, salvation, and deliverance from demonic spirits. We praise God for His mighty presence. The experiences for these two crusades is as follows: Saved–358; Baptized in the Holy Spirit–172; Healings–87; Demons Cast Out–151. We have opened four new missions and have also been able MINISTERS to construct one church building after purchasing the land. We truly praise the Lord for the moving of His Spirit among Bruce Craig; our people and in our nation. Greer, South Carolina; We also just celebrated the end of the third school year for August 31, 2011; our schools in Limbe and Kumba cities. Licensed minister for 44 years.
New Jersey Church Feeds 3,000 The food bank at Northfield, New Jersey began back in October 2006 when they were only able to feed 50 people. Through the vision of then pastor Barbara Adams and Director Flossie Segal, the food bank has grown immensely. They are now feeding close to 3,000 people in just four years. This small congregation of less than 30 members reaches out to their community each week, while distributing food, by holding Bible study and prayer and sharing testimonies of individuals being healed. Gospel tracks are placed in each bag as they are picked up. A hot beverage and
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In His Presence
—Mayeke James, National Overseer
snack is also served to those who are hungry on cold winter mornings. Flossie Siegel, the director of the food bank speaks passionately about the many that receive help from this ministry. “I believe this is my ministry to the Lord,” she declares. We thank God for giving us a blessed work to help the people of this community. —Chris Greenaway
Beulah E. Galloway; Easley, South Carolina; September 1, 2011; Licensed minister for 36 years. Basil W. Richardson; Crestline, Ohio; August 20, 2011; Licensed minister for 53 years.
MEMBERS Eatedal M. Rizk; Giza, Egypt; September 6, 2011; Eatedal was the wife of Bishop Samir Rizk, the National Overseer of Egypt. Margaret Dobson Kennedy; Cleveland, Tennessee; August 14, 2011; Margaret was the widow of M.K. Dobson.
Are you telling me that there’s a movie coming out that features two characters who are Church of God of Prophecy ministers?
DeWayne Hamby, Managing Editor
Hollywood Calling You never know who’s going to be at the other end of a phone call. Back in the mid-Nineties, I received a surprising call from Hollywood, of all places. Somehow, the call had come to my telephone extension in the Youth Ministries department of the International Offices of the Church of God of Prophecy. The caller identified herself as a member of a film research firm and said she needed to check our records. She had a name of a character in a motion picture screenplay that she needed to make sure was not the actual name of one of our ministers. “Why?” I asked. “Is the character in the movie a Church of God of Prophecy minister?” To my surprise, she replied, “Yes.” The caller’s professionalism kept me from immediately dismissing it as a joke, although I was stumped by the reality. A major Hollywood actor, Robert Duvall (The Godfather, Lonesome Dove) had penned a movie in which the main character was . . . a COGOP minister. I put the call through to Records while I gathered my thoughts and considered what had been said. Soon, Hollywood called again, this time with the name of an additional character. “Are you telling me that there’s a movie coming out that features two characters who are Church of God of Prophecy ministers?” I questioned. The caller, an
associate of the first woman, verified it. I further questioned, “Is this a Christian movie?” The caller said, “Sir, I am not a Christian, but to me, it seems to portray Christianity in a positive light.” I then asked if we could see a copy of the script and was quickly rejected. Before I transferred the call to Records, I scribbled down the names: Sonny Dewey and C. Charles Blackwell. By now, some of you know that film as The Apostle starring Duvall, Farrah Fawcett, June Carter Cash, and Billy Bob Thornton. You may remember the plot, but at the time, we were completely in the dark. Through the still-new Internet, I did as much research as I could and even called a Los Angeles-based movie ministry for advice on how to deal with the challenges the film release might bring. As we are all aware, many times Hollywood portrayals of ministers are less than ideal or accurate. As I gathered information, I spoke with Bishop Billy Murray, General Overseer. To my surprise, he was not surprised. He told that, as Tennessee State Overseer, he’d traveled to preach at Jewel Jernigan’s church. Sister Jernigan, we would later find out, was Duvall’s connection to the COGOP. He became friends with her and had brought some Hollywood friends to hear her preach. On a Sunday when her church membership was delighted to have a visit
from the State Overseer, Brother Murray said Duvall was cordial, but relayed a slight disappointment in not being able to showcase Sister Jernigan’s pulpit skills to his friends. Still, he had big plans for her to appear in his upcoming film, which he was personally financing. Although Sister Jernigan is still listed in the final film’s credits, I have been told she bowed out of her big screen appearance. After all of the research and questioning, the movie was also released without the mention of the COGOP. And many people believe that’s probably for the best, since the main character was deeply flawed. Of the group I viewed the film with, only a couple liked it and for the others, dislike was not strong enough of a word. My best guess of where the mention of the COGOP would have appeared would be through the character of the church planter, C. Charles Blackwell. He is a retired pastor who helps build a church with the main character. His was the second minister’s name checked through one of my phone calls from Hollywood. With the COGOP name dropped from the final film, we can only imagine what attention, if any, the movie would have brought to the Church. Along those lines, another question was raised, at least in my mind—who would play the future White Wing Messenger Managing Editor in the sequel?
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