Issuu on Google+


EDITORIAL BY P. DANIEL BUFORD

Let the Book Come to Your Rescue hen an individual has wed himself to the Word of God, we often say, “He is a man of the Book.” What good is it to be a man or woman of the Book? Can the Word of God enrich one’s life? If one would live by the Book, would he be any more noble? Would she be any more honorable? Would his light shine any brighter? Would neighbors notice any difference? Itinerant evangelist C. P. Kilgore, his wife, Ella, and their ten children sacrificed greatly for the kingdom of God. James Kilgore would say, “When my father died, there was no earthly inheritance left, just a worn-out Bible for each of his children.” What a legacy from a man of the Book. My wife has a treasure—a black Oxford Scofield Bible that was her mother’s. Gertrude Artigue Mitchell was a woman of the Book. Her Bible’s cover is tattered, the delicate pages are stained and loose, but the notes neatly written on the inside flyleaves and throughout the Bible—notes of sermons and extensive notes of her own personal study—are rich treasures to be mined. One note states, “To live for God you lose. You lose your life. But what is your life for?” While writing those notes and reading that Bible, she and her godly husband, Charles, raised four children to love God deeply and to be sincere people of the Book themselves. The children’s chorus says it well: “I have a wonderful treasure, the gift of God without measure, and so we’ll travel together, my Bible and I.” That Book—what a treasure. My treasure is a Cambridge Bible given to me by Word Aflame Publications twenty-nine years ago. It has been my work Bible, my study Bible, and my preaching Bible. I have kept it in a black lizard zippered case most of the time. The wear and

tear of the case was starting to show, the zipper was coming apart, the leather had a worn, greenish cast, and it just looked ragged. Recently I took the case to a great shoe repair shop operated by a husband and wife team—she runs the counter and he does the repairs. I asked the lady what it would cost to repair the stitching on the case and she said, “Oh, not much.” I left the case to be repaired. She called me a couple

When we read the Book, meditate upon the Book, memorize the Book, and call the words of the Book back up into our circumstances, God is present. of hours later and asked, “What do you think, would you want us to re-dye your Bible cover? We have a wonderful black dye that will make it look like new.” Again I asked, “What will it cost?” She replied, with a break in her voice, “There will be no charge. We know what you carry in the case, and my husband and I would like to give it our best work.” Her sincerity moved me; I readily agreed to the work and was most pleased with the result. David asked some probing questions in Psalm 139: “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” He then answered his own questions by saying, “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” No matter where David was in life, God was there. Good times, bad

times; high times, low times; sitting on the king’s throne or running from the king— God was with him. David understood a truth: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). No matter where David was, God was a very present help for him. One way God is with us at all times is through His Word—the Book. When we read the Book, meditate upon the Book, memorize the Book, and call the words of the Book back up into our circumstances, God is present. A great mentor asked me a serious question, “How do you keep from sinning?” The Book came to my rescue: “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). Do you wonder where to turn, what to do, where to go in life? Let the Book come to your rescue: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). When you are feeling your way through the darkness and do not understand your situation, let the Book come to your rescue: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130). When you feel forsaken and alone, let the Book come to your rescue: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). What a promise—and it comes from the Book.

P. Daniel Buford is an associate editor of the United Pentecostal Church International and the editor of the Pentecostal Herald.

MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

3


Fundamental Doctrine The basic and fundamental doctrine of this organization shall be the Bible standard of full salvation, which is repentance, baptism in water by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. We shall endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit until we all come into the unity of the faith, at the same time admonishing all brethren that they shall not contend for their different views to the disunity of the body.

The One True God

We Want to Hear from You Feedback

PRODUCTION MANAGER Larry Craig PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Jina Crain CREATIVE DIRECTOR Abraham LaVoi DESIGN SUPERVISOR Tim Cummings GRAPHIC DESIGN Tim Burk, Dennis Fiorini EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Kelly Middleton COPY EDITOR Patricia Bollmann

The Pentecostal Herald (USPS-427-240) is published monthly by the United Pentecostal Church International, 8855 Dunn Road., Hazelwood, MO 63042-2299. It is the official publication of the United Pentecostal Church International. Periodicals postage paid at Hazelwood, Missouri, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Pentecostal Herald, 8855 Dunn Road, Hazelwood, MO 63042-2299. ©2015 UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH INTERNATIONAL.

OUR VISION

The Pentecostal Herald in every Pentecostal home

OUR MISSION

To publish a Pentecostal magazine that strengthens the hands of Pentecostal pastors, encourages and challenges Pentecostal believers, and reaches beyond the doors of Pentecostal churches

DISCLAIMER

The Pentecostal Herald (or UPCI) assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of claims of advertisers or for the quality of their service or products.

HOW TO REACH US Pentecostal Herald 8855 Dunn Road Hazelwood, MO 63042-2299 Phone: 1.314.837.7300 Extension 411 Email: kmiddleton@upci.org, main@upci.org Web: www.pentecostalherald.com

Single Subscriptions (USA) $25.00 Single Subscriptions (Canada) $35.00 Single Subscriptions (Foreign) $44.00 Bundle Subscriptions (USA) $2.00 each for 3-10 copies; $1.75 each for 11 or more copies Bundle Subscriptions (Canada) $2.75 each for 3-10 copies; $2.50 each for 11 or more copies

UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH INTERNATIONAL

Send letters or emails for possible publication to: pbuford@upci.org or Pentecostal Herald 8855 Dunn Road Hazelwood, MO 63042-2299.

Customer Care Send subscription, renewal requests, and inquiries to pentecostalherald.com or email pentecostalherald@upci.org.

Advertising Go to pentecostalherald.com and follow the prompts.

Like us on Facebook ThePentecostalHerald

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

PENTECOSTAL HERALD EDITOR P. Daniel Buford EDITOR IN CHIEF Robin Johnston ASSOCIATE EDITOR P. Daniel Buford ASSOCIATE EDITOR Lee Ann Alexander

VOL. 91, NO. 3.

We believe in the one ever-living, eternal God: infinite in power, holy in nature, attributes, and purpose; and possessing absolute, indivisible deity. This one true God has revealed Himself as Father; through His Son, in redemption; and as the Holy Spirit, by emanation (I Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; II Corinthians 5:19; Joel 2:28).

4

MARCH 2015

|

MARCH 2015

GENERAL OFFICIALS

GENERAL EXECUTIVE PRESBYTERS

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT David K. Bernard* ASSISTANT GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT Stan O. Gleason* ASSISTANT GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT Paul D. Mooney* GENERAL SECRETARY-TREASURER Jerry Jones* DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL MISSIONS Bruce A. Howell* DIRECTOR OF NORTH AMERICAN MISSIONS Carlton L. Coon Sr.* EDITOR IN CHIEF Robin Johnston GENERAL SUNDAY SCHOOL DIRECTOR Steve L. Cannon GENERAL YOUTH DIRECTOR Michael Ensey SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION Dan Batchelor

Gary Gleason* Aaron Soto* Kevin Borders* Kevin Cox* Keith Sjostrand* Philip Harrelson* Ronnie Mullings* Darrell Johns* Raymond Woodward*

GENERAL PRESBYTERS

J.R. Blackshear, Ernest Breithaupt, W.L. Clayton, B.S. Cole, Daniel Garlitz, Arless Glass, John Grant, Tommy Hudson, David Johnson, James Kelley, Carrol D. Kennedy, Carl Lagow, Roger Lewis, R.J. McIntyre, John D. Mean, James Merrick, Ronnie Mullings, Paul Price, Paul Reynolds, David Robinson, J.M. Russell, Harry Scism, Scotty Teets, T.F. Tenney, B.J. Thomas, Wayne Trout, G.L. Vittitow, Ted Wagner, David O. Walters, R.D. Whalen * Member of the Executive Board

Dennis L. Anderson, Elvin Anthony, G. Terry Brewer, Ronald L. Brown, Steven Carnahan, Steve D. Carrington, Brent Coltharp, Mike Conn, Carlton L. Coon Sr., Kevin Cox, Jack Cunningham, Steven D. D’Amico, J. Stanley Davidson, Devon Dawson, Dean M. Dickinson, Andrew Dillon, Daniel Fleming, Jesus B. Fortaleza, Edward Goddard, Scott Graham, Percel T. Graves, Ken Gurley, John W. Hanson, Arthur E. Hodges III, Gary Hogan, Jerry T. Holt, David Hudson, Wayne Huntley, Darrell Johns, J. Mark Jordan, Ron Lichtle, Arnold MacLauchlan, Daniel McAllister, Richard McGriffin, Scott D. Marshall, Matthew Martin, Mark Morgan, Arthur Naylor, Trevor Neil, Gordon Parrish, Kevin Prince, David D. Puckett, John E. Putnam, Stephen P. Spite, Jay Stirneman, Rick Stoops, Robert Stroup, David Tipton Jr., Jerry Tipton, David Trammell, Marney Turpin, C. Patton Williams, Raymond Woodson Sr., Chester Wright

HONORARY PRESBYTERS

Scan the QR code on your mobile device to visit pentecostalherald.com.


36

[ PEOPLE OF THE BOOK ] 8 The World’s Greatest

Columns

3 | Editorial

P. Daniel Buford

Sunday School Teacher Robert L. Gilstrap

10 A Life Changing Moment

7 | The General Superintendent Speaks

15 | Faith & Culture

16 Gospels, Acts, and Epistles

19 | General Youth Division

21 It Was Just a Book

David K. Bernard Eugene Wilson

James Carney

12 The Security of Bedrock

27 | North American Missions Carlton L. Coon Sr.

43 | Multicultural Ministries

Arthur Hodges III

49 | Sunday School

Doug Ellingsworth

51 | Last Word

Lee Ann Alexander

Pentecostal

Life

Jonathan Walker Don Martin

Dorsey Burk

24 The Indelible Impact of

23 | Worldline

Bruce Howell

Chad Williams

G.T. Haywood

Talmadge L. French

28 Sharing “The Book”

Ryan N. Franklin

30 Theme: Standing Too Close

to the Text

Robin Johnston

32 Understanding the Context

32

of the Holy Bible

Daniel L. Segraves

36 People of the Book

Using the Book

H. Everett Gossard

38 | X-Rated: For Adults Only Pamela Smoak

40 | How Do You Tell a Hungry Soul She Cannot Have a Bible? Evangeline Rodenbush

42 | Writing It Down W.C. Parkey

8

Cindy Warren Price feeling blessed at Bethel Tabernacle September 28, 2014 at 9:55am

Ready to hear the world’s greatest Sunday School teacher, Rev. Robert Gilstrap. Like • Comment • Share Write a comment...

44 | My Life’s Breaking Point Ercel H. Clark Jr.

MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

5


6

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015


THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT SPEAKS BY DAVID K. BERNARD

Answering Questions about our Faith n our world, many beliefs compete for acceptance. Most people have not heard the Apostolic message, and when they do hear it they often have questions. How should Christians respond to these questions? First, we should be prepared to answer everyone about our faith. (See I Peter 3:15.) If someone is sincerely seeking truth, we need to explain what we believe from the Bible and confirm truth with our personal testimony. Second, we should answer according to a person’s spiritual understanding and need. Many people do not have the background for a full explanation of truth. Some need milk instead of meat (Hebrews 5:12-14). If they need to be saved, we can share the truth about faith, repentance, and a personal experience with God while deferring some discussions of doctrine and discipleship. Third, we need to discern people’s motive and answer accordingly. Some people aren’t seeking truth but want to attack or ridicule. In such cases we have no obligation to answer in the way they wish. We are to avoid foolish and contentious questions (II Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9). Jesus said not to waste what is holy on those who aren’t holy, or throw pearls to pigs (Matthew 7:6). He also told us to be wise as serpents (careful and shrewd) but harmless as doves (without guile or malice) (Matthew 10:16). When some Jewish religious leaders asked Jesus by what authority He acted, He responded with a question of his own: Did the baptism of John come with authority from heaven, or was it merely human? (See Matthew 21:23-25.) They were not sincerely seeking truth but sought to discredit Him, so He asked a counter question to expose their hypocrisy. They didn’t want to say John’s baptism came from God, because they hadn’t received it. On the other hand, if

they denied that John’s baptism came from God, the common people would reject them, for they acknowledged John as a prophet. Therefore, the leaders refused to answer. John had pointed to Jesus, so if they admitted that John’s authority came from God, then they would understand that Jesus’ authority also came from God. Jesus’ answer revealed and thwarted their hidden agenda, but it would have led them to truth had they been sincere. When the Sadducees posed a puzzling question about the resurrection, Jesus bypassed their detailed scenario and went to the root of the matter. He pointed out their fundamental problem: they did not believe in the teaching of Scripture or in the power of God. (See Matthew 22:23-33.) They had already rejected truth and so weren’t prepared to understand; nevertheless, He gave them a scriptural answer. A Pharisee asked a direct question: Which is the greatest commandment? Although he was trying to trap Jesus, the question itself was fair and important. Thus Jesus answered plainly and even elaborated: The greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love people. (See Matthew 22:34-40.) It is important to be aware of assumptions or definitions hidden in a question. The classic example is: “Have you stopped beating your wife?” If a man answers yes, he admits to past wrongdoing. If he answers no, he admits to present wrongdoing. The question is unfair. Similarly, some questions are framed in a way that contradicts a scriptural viewpoint. For instance, some may imply that we are intolerant because we affirm God’s Word. In our secular culture the highest value is “tolerance” rather than truth. Tolerance is good when it means respecting other people, their civil rights, and their power of choice. However, tolerance has been redefined to mean

all beliefs and lifestyles are valid. Anyone who says some choices are wrong or sinful is labeled “intolerant.” Thus some may ask: Do you believe certain lifestyles are wrong? Do you believe certain people are going to Hell? Does your church accept everyone? If they are sincerely seeking truth, we can explain God’s plan according to Scripture. Often the purpose of such questions is to discredit the church, however, and in this case we need to challenge the faulty assumptions. Contrary to their implications, love doesn’t negate truth, acceptance doesn’t require approval, mercy doesn’t eliminate the need for righteousness, and upholding truth doesn’t mean hating unbelievers. God loves everyone, we respect everyone as created in God’s image, and we welcome everyone to attend our church. At the same time we teach God’s plan for the human race as revealed in Scripture. We don’t define people by an orientation, lifestyle, or predisposition (temptation). Instead, we treat each person as an individual who has the potential to fulfill God’s plan in his or her life by God’s grace. God has given us authority to proclaim His Word, but He alone has authority to judge individuals. Like Jesus, we don’t condemn people, but we offer them God’s salvation (John 3:17). God empowers us to change our old way of life. He replaces it with something far better: a personal relationship with Him, an abundant life. His plan is always best for us. Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and in Him we find the ultimate answer to life’s questions.

David K. Bernard is the general superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International.

MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

7


[PEOPLE OF THE BOOK]

The World’s Greatest Sunday School Teacher ROBERT L. GILSTRAP

Cindy Warren Price feeling blessed at Bethel Tabernacle September 28, 2014 at 9:55am

Ready to hear the world’s greatest Sunday School teacher, Rev. Robert Gilstrap. Like • Comment • Share Write a comment...

omeone has said, “Preaching makes a statement; teaching proves that statement.” I have made a lot of statements in nearly sixty years, and I have tried to prove many of those. Perhaps that is why I love to teach even more than preach. I love to try to prove things. For the last fifty-eight years I have preached, taught, and lived by the Book. As a teacher, you do not take students to a room and show them every8

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

thing in the room. Teaching is taking them to a door leading to a room full of things they are interested in and challenging them to cross the threshold and discover for themselves what the room contains. The reward of teaching occurs when they begin to discover those things. Although Cindy Warren graciously expressed an opinion that triggered the request to write this article, Daniel Buford kindly prefaced this article in an attempt to make it easier for me to respond to an observation I do not readily accept. When I asked Cindy her reasons for making such a statement, she replied by compiling these reasons:


P. Daniel Buford A note from the editor: Cindy Warren Price sent out a Facebook message. She could hardly wait to get to Houston’s Bethel Tabernacle that Sunday morning because she had the “world’s greatest Sunday school teacher—Robert Gilstrap.” I know Cindy and trust her judgment about Sunday school teachers. I know Robert Gilstrap also, and his abilities speak for themselves. Eager to know what he has to say about teaching Sunday school, I asked him to write this article. He consented, not because he accepted the accolade of being the world’s greatest Sunday school teacher, but because he knows by experience the value of a life lived by the Book.

1. Preparation. It is obvious Robert Gilstrap did not wait until Sunday morning to get up, drink a cup of coffee, and read through the Sunday school lesson for the first time before teaching the class. 2. Dry-erase Board. He always uses a large dry-erase board to write down his points or big words that we have never heard of. 3. Scriptures. He prepares a list of Scriptures for the media team so they can project them onto the screens. 4. Handouts. Sometimes if he feels there would be value in a handout, he will prepare one for the class. 5. Sunday School Offering. He leads by example. His Sunday school offering is always the first one the usher receives. 6. Personal Examples. Because of his years of life experiences, he will many times find a way to make the Sunday school lesson more realistic by using a personal example of someone he has known and some circumstance he has been through with that person. 7. Demeanor. Many times Robert Gilstrap will include laughter or even worship when appropriate. He is not stone faced, and he makes us think he actually enjoys what he is doing. 8. Object lesson. His ability to use his talent as a musician for an illustration is always interesting. Having taught piano and organ for many years, I learned most everyone is eager to learn. What a joy it is to be able to share information that enables someone to have a better outlook on life, be encouraged in their walk with the Lord, or to be able to express themselves on a keyboard. I do not know what kind of a teacher I am, but I do know that His words are life. (See John 6:63.) When we share His words with others, we are sharing life with them. If we do our

best to apply basic principles of teaching with proper preparation and prayerful presentation, people are bound to take interest. I happened to have met the real world’s greatest teacher sixty-nine years ago, and it sure was not R. L. Gilstrap. It was Jesus Christ, and if we trust Him and His anointing, He will make all of us look good. Robert L. Gilstrap serves as pastoral elder at Houston’s Bethel Tabernacle, pastored by David L. Fauss.


[PEOPLE OF THE BOOK]

A Life Changing Moment CHAD WILLIAMS

had recently moved to Portland, Oregon, to be youth pastor at Portland Pentecostal Church when I witnessed my first Bible study being delivered at the Clackamas Community Center. I remember it as though it were yesterday. The Bible study director, Rod Buffington, was teaching weekly Bible studies in the community center to accommodate all the families that were attending. Many youth were present at the study every week, which prompted Rod to invite me to come for the purpose of connecting with the youth. What he didn’t realize was this would be my first encounter with a Bible study. Sure, I had taken advantage of opportunities to share the Bible with unbelievers outside of the four walls of the church, but never in such a systematic and thorough way as Rod was doing through a twelve-week Bible study course. As I observed this experienced teacher sharing the Word that day I became persuaded this was an activity I had to engage in immediately. In my heart and mind I decided I would learn to be the best Bible study teacher I could be. Watching a person of the Book teach the Bible to those families that day changed my life. Although I understood the command to go into the whole world with the whole gospel, and although I had read numerous times in the Bible about the disciples and others teaching truth in homes, the moment I witnessed this myself I became a student hungry to learn 10

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

how to be an effective Bible study teacher. Through Rod I learned that people of the Book impact lives by sharing God’s inspired Word in homes, community centers, coffee shops, city parks, schools, libraries, workplaces, and various other locations outside of the four walls of the church. I learned some very practical yet powerful lessons from observing this master teacher unpack God’s Word in such a real and comprehensive way. First, I learned we have to speak the language of the people we are striving to lead to Christ. Second, great Bible study teachers are great listeners. Third, I realized Bible study teachers have to get into people’s sometimes-messy world in order to introduce them to the Creator of the world. Fourth, people of the Book deposit God’s Word into the lives of unbelievers, not their own often-empty words. As I reflect back it was evident that Rod understood the importance of speaking the same language his students were speaking. In this article “the same language” is an idiom regarding more than just English, Spanish, German, or French. This refers to the peculiar ways in which we all speak our language. Some of us are straight shooters while others are ramblers. Some of us have an extensive vocabulary while others have a more limited vocabulary. We all have distinct styles and characteristics in our speech. These and other variables affect the way we speak our language. The gospel is effectively delivered when we speak the same language as those


in our Bible study. If they are straight shooters, we should be straight shooters. If they have a limited vocabulary, we need to choose words that fit into their vocabulary. The goal is to identify these in our students and make quick adjustments in order to match their peculiar way of speaking. We must communicate on the same wavelength as others to optimize their experience and increase their potential for receiving the messages in God’s Word. As I observed Rod’s teaching week after week, it was obvious he was careful to hear every person present. People of the Book are great at using their ears to lead people to Christ. We must be active listeners, never allowing distractions to hinder us from hearing the pain and concerns of others. Listening without judging what is said or how it is said will help us hear clearly. It is important to keep our spirit and perspective of people pure so we don’t create barriers to hearing the true meaning of every message they send us. To teach a Bible study effectively we need to be proficient with our voice and ears. Rod modeled how to step into messy lives without getting messy. With God’s help, he had perfected the ability to navigate messy environments, relationships, personalities, and habits in order to introduce people to Jesus Christ. His determination to reach people with the gospel would not allow him to be discouraged by the messy. People of the Book are

often very successful at this because the Author of the Book is very successful at this! Jesus was masterful at leading humanity out of the quagmire that troubled them. As born-again believers, we are blessed to be free of our once sinful lives and we are commissioned to guide others out of their messy situations with His Word! There is a messy world that needs people of the Book to put on the armor of God, step into the sin-filled lives, and lead the individuals to Christ. I noticed in the community center Rod always seemed to satisfy the questions and concerns of his students with God’s words, not his own. Sure, Rod was a very wise man and could have leveraged his experiences to speak very positive words into those lives; however, he understood the most powerful words to speak into people’s lives are God’s words. Through the years, I have observed a common thread among people of the Book. They are quick to speak God’s words instead of their own. We know the right word is most refreshing when spoken at the right time. What we must remember is His words are the right words, not ours. Becoming familiar with His words, we can change lives by strategically sharing them.

Chad Williams is the coordinator of Ministry Training and Link247 for the Division of Publications of the United Pentecostal Church International. MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

11


[PEOPLE OF THE BOOK]

The Security of Bedrock J O N AT H A N WA L K E R

edrock is defined by Merriam-Webster as the solid rock underlying unconsolidated surface materials such as soil. It is found at the deepest stratum of terrain. Sometimes the term represents a strong principle or fact upon which something rests. Thoughts of this went through my mind a few months ago when my wife and I visited the newly completed One World Trade Center building and discovered an example of something embedded in bedrock. A cloudless sky canopied lower Manhattan as we dodged through the bustling foot traffic on Cortland Street. The sun’s rays reflected vibrantly off the glass of the Trade Center building and slanted downward to the Memorial Pools. We entered the grounds to visit the newly opened National September 11th Memorial and Museum. People from many nations were gathered not only to gain knowledge, but also to pay homage to the victims and heroes that will never be forgotten. The intriguing aspect of the memorial is the tour that descends seventy feet below surface level where a foundation wall still stands secure and unyielding. The impact of the experience stirs the soul. The museum displays thousands of artifacts, pictures, and stories. However, there is one steel column seventy feet below the surface that captivated my attention. The towers had sixty-six steel columns that helped provide infrastructure to the buildings below the surface. To the surprise of everyone, at the end of the nine-month recovery effort one of the steel columns was still anchored securely in place. It was the only column undaunted by the disaster withstanding the crushing weight of debris all around it. How could this steel column be the only one that was still steadily fastened to the foundation? The crews working at the site initially tried to remove this resilient steel column with normal machinery. It could not be removed. Further exploration led them to discover this inspiring truth. The lone surviving column had been attached to the literal bedrock of the earth. It still stands secure today despite the devastation that assailed the area. The steel column is now emblazoned with inspiring pictures, artifacts, 12

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

and messages of faith, hope, and love. That which is securely anchored to bedrock will not be displaced.

Timeless and Unstoppable

The church of the living God is the most powerful force on this earth. Although the Apostolic church was birthed in an upper room in Acts 2, the true commencement cannot be calculated with a calendar. The church was not an afterthought of God. He had a determined destiny for His church from the beginning. Paul wrote to the church, “According as He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). The church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). The household of God is not meant to be positioned on loose pediments of an “easy believeism” message. Jesus declared in Matthew 16:18 that His church would be built upon a rock and the gates of Hell would not be able to prevail against it. This rock was foreshadowed to those Jews steeped in Old Testament Scripture declaring, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect” (Deuteronomy 32:4). When the church is on offense, it is unstoppable. When the church is under attack, it is unassailable. Christ is the head of His body, the church, and in all things He has the preeminence (Colossians 1:18). The Apostolic church is anchored to this bedrock of absoluteness. The inimitable J.T. Pugh, in his book The Flesh of God, states, “The drastic spiritual beginning of the Church set it apart at once from all secular organizations on the earth. Its beginning was miraculous, its present work and also its continuance. The calling of the Church therefore becomes the duty to make an invisible God visible.”

Bible Quizzing

I am privileged to have a rich Apostolic heritage. My grandfather R.P. Kloepper was recently inducted into our organization’s “Order of the Faith.” My father, Marvin Walker, the truest Christian I know, served the UPCI as the North American quizmaster for twenty years. My childhood literally revolved around the Word of God. But as a facile ten-yearold, I adamantly declared, “I will never be a Bible quizzer and will definitely never be a preacher.” After five thousand


MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

13


memorized verses over a ten-year span, coupled with being a licensed minister with the UPCI fourteen blessed years, I was badly mistaken. I am so thankful I was wrong. Bible quizzing is not merely a program or activity to join. It is truly a ministry. The pathway to the Word of God begins in our mind, but it is not intended to reside there only. His Word is to be transferred to the heart, or as the Latin origin reveals, the core of who we are. The bedrock blessing of the Shema prayer reveals the proper resting place: “Hear O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart” (Deuteronomy 6:4-6). Psalm 119, a landmark chapter of God’s Word, declares in verse 11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Bible quizzing began in my life as an activity, but became a ministry, shaping my life secured by a bedrock foundation of truth. The Word of God taught me ministry is not accomplished by my own might or power, but by God’s Spirit. There is a keen difference between being associated with God’s Word and knowing God’s Word. We are not on a meandering journey where truth is an abstract idea that cannot be ascertained. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. In Him we live, move, and have our being. Bible quizzing uses competition and team building to provide an avenue for young people to grasp wisdom and knowledge that will be the stability of the times and the strength of salvation as Isaiah 33:6 declares. Because of dedicated parents, a legendary coach, Norman Paslay II, and beloved teammates, I was privileged to win the most North American Bible quizzing championships of a quizzer to date. Although I am thankful for the success on the competition side, do you know where my four championship team trophies currently rest? They are in bubble wrap on a shelf in our basement. True success is not captured with the corruptible trophies of this evanescent world, but with the life and heart that becomes fastened securely to the truth of the Book. Joshua 1:8 defines success as meditating and living God’s Word day and night as the only prosperous way. Psalm 1:2-3 reveals that 14

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

those who delight in the law of God will be like a fruitful tree planted by a river, whose leaves never wither and whose way is prosperous.

The Rock and the Sand

Truth endures to all generations because the Word of God is forever settled in Heaven. The church must be secured to this timeless bedrock until the coming of the Lord. I join with the psalmist’s piercing question, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3) Charles Spurgeon pondered, “Why is it that some Christians, although hearing many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord.” We must be people of the Book. It is divinely transformative. It supersedes human rationale and opinions. It is the guiding compass. The security of bedrock is discovered only by going deeper than the “unconsolidated” surface materials. In Christian culture today there are many unconsolidated, abstract gospels. The foolish man built his house on unconsolidated sand. The wise man built his house upon immovable rock. Sand seems more appealing to rest upon than a rock, until one realizes sand cannot save you in a storm. David boldly declared this reality after surviving the tyranny of Saul: “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in Him will I trust” (II Samuel 22:2-3). The grass will wither away and the flower will ultimately fade. So with full persuasion and hearts that are fixed, let us hold to the immutable Word of God, which will stand forever—the ultimate bedrock. Jonathan Walker serves as the youth pastor of Bethel UPC in Long Island, New York, under Bishop D.D. Davis and Pastor Doug Davis Jr. He is the blessed husband to Lindsi and privileged dad to Quinci.


FAITH & CULTURE BY EUGENE WILSON

A Response to Persecution (Part 2 of 2) hristians in North America do not suffer from persecution to the degree of severity as the early church, nor as some today in other parts of the world. However, many believe the eroding of Christian values and practices in North American will in time result in the persecution of Christians. Indeed, this may have already begun. Recent events in Houston, where city officials issued subpoenas demanding that a group of pastors turn over any sermons addressing homosexuality, gender identity, or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor, is seen by many as a form of persecution. Although the subpoenas were later withdrawn, it is highly likely that similar events will occur again, and increasingly so.

A Biblical Response Persecution, to some degree, is inevitable. Jesus said, “The world hates me, and they are going to hate you.” (See John 15 and 16.) John said, “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you” (I John 3:13, NKJV). And Paul said, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12, NKJV). So what should our response be? In last month’s column, I highlighted Peter’s words, “Think it not strange” (I Peter 4:12). “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” In other words, expect it. Expect persecution. Expect things to get worse. The context of Peter’s exhortation is as follows: a huge fire had destroyed much of Rome; the populace blamed Nero for the fire; diverting the attention elsewhere, Nero blamed the Christians; and consequently, great persecution came upon the Christians in Rome. Peter, recognizing what had started

in Rome would soon reach his readers, began preparing them for it. The “strangers” were already experiencing verbal abuse, but a fiery trial would soon try them. They should expect it.

Rejoice Not only does Peter tell his readers to expect persecution; he also exhorts them to rejoice. “Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Peter 4:13). Rejoice? There are many other responses that would seem more appropriate than to rejoice. If we had written the letter we would have probably said, “Rejoice while you can; things are going to get bad and you are not going to have much reason to rejoice.” Or, possibly, “Hold on. Your day of rejoicing will come. Things will change. There will come a time when you will be able to rejoice again.” But this is not what Peter says. Peter urges his readers to rejoice now, and to continue rejoicing, even while being persecuted. Peter says the right attitude to have in the midst of persecution is one of rejoicing. When the world rails against you, rejoice. When you are afflicted and rejected by men, rejoice. When the world comes against you for righteousness sake, rejoice. When you are rejected because of the name of Jesus Christ, rejoice. Likewise, in Matthew 5:10-12, Jesus says, Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for

so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Rejoice with Exceeding Joy How can a Christian rejoice under such dire circumstances? How can a Christian keep his or her emotions under control and refuse to respond inappropriately to persecution? How can a Christian, who is being persecuted, rejoice and be exceeding glad? Peter has an answer. He says, “Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Peter 4:13). The persecution a Christian endures is not for naught; he or she will partake of Christ’s glory when it is revealed, and do so with great joy. In essence, Peter says we can rejoice now, in times of persecution, because we know someday we will rejoice with exceeding, great joy. Our eternal reward will bring eternal joy. Peter echoes what Jesus previously taught. When we are persecuted we are to rejoice, and keep on rejoicing. If we will rejoice now, we have a promise that someday we will rejoice with exceeding joy, an ecstatic joy, a joy that surpasses all other joys. So, if you are facing persecution for righteousness’ sake, if you are being reviled and persecuted for His name’s sake, don’t be perplexed. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t be disheartened. And don’t quit. Remember, it is an honor to partake in sufferings with Jesus. Rejoice.

Eugene Wilson is an ordained minister, leadership consultant, and coach. He and his wife live in Dallas, Texas.

MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

15


[PEOPLE OF THE BOOK]

Gospels, Acts, and Epistles DON MARTIN

he New Testament is an anthology, a collection of Christian works written in the first century following the birth and life of John the Baptist, the birth and life of Jesus Christ, and the founding of the apostolic church in ad 33. We will briefly sum up some historical facts of the New Testament canon. Many scholars consider the Books of James, Galatians, and I Thessalonians, written around ad 48-51, to be the earliest circulated books of the New Testament. The last book written of the New Testament canon was Revelation, being written approximately ad 96. The first extent list of the books in the complete New Testament canon was contained in a letter written by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria in ad 367. Chapters to the New Testament were given in the thirteenth century and the division of 7,957 verses of the New Testament were added in the sixteenth century. Aside from the historical data, the scriptural text states, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15). The apostle Paul provided insight into understanding the New Testament correctly when instructing his student Timothy. He knew from experience that God would bless Timothy’s work with signs and wonders if he learned to divide the Word of God correctly. He believed God would bear witness when the gospel was fully preached. “Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God . . . I have fully preached the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:19). “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will” (Hebrews 2:4). Therefore, we must look correctly at the structure of the New Testament canon to fully understand what each book contributes to it.

1.

The Gospel writers gave accounts of the birth, life, and ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, each from a unique perspective.

2.

Jewish believers worshiped either in the synagogues or the Temple.

3.

The church, ecclesia, was not yet. It was mentioned only once and that in a future tense to the apostle Peter (Matthew 16:18-29) who at the time was not yet converted (Luke 22:32).

4.

The Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking with tongues, was not yet given (John 7:38-39).

5.

Men could repent and their sins be forgiven (Luke 23:43).

6.

The New Testament “promise” of the infilling of the Holy Spirit would not be fulfilled until Jesus had departed (Acts 1:4-8; Hebrews 9:16-17).

ACTS The Book of Acts is the narrative doctrinal text that records the foundation of the New Testament church. We read of the conversion process as heralded by the “man with the keys” (Matthew 16:19), the apostle Peter. Also, we read of the same message (Acts 19:1-6) being preached by the apostle Paul, the man who wrote 48 percent of the New Testament, or 52 percent if he authored Hebrews. Therefore, we find in the Book of Acts: 1.

The New Testament church was founded. The name ecclesia or called-out one was used to describe the church, which was separate from the Temple worship and weekly synagogue meetings. The church was made up of people united by a common baptism of water and Spirit, a fulfillment of John 3:5.

2.

Anyone, male or female, could be a part of the church by baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the personal experience of speaking with tongues as the Spirit gave them the utterance (Acts 1:13,14; 2:4).

3.

Baptism in water by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ was preached (Acts 2:38-41; 8:16; 10:48;

GOSPELS The first four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are considered the Gospels. That is, the “good news” books. We find the following in the Gospels:

16

P E N T E CO S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015


19:1-6). Note: Matthew 28:19 was not a baptismal service; Acts 2, 8, 10, and 19 were. 4.

Signs and wonders of healing, deliverance from demons, and the promotion of the apostolic message spread to the known world. These early disciples were said to have turned their world “upside down” (Acts 17:6).

EPISTLES From the Book of Romans to Revelation, which were letters written to churches already established, five authors wrote to “saints,” people already in the New Testament church. These five authors were: Paul, James, Peter, John, and Jude. James and Jude are considered by many to be the half-brothers of Jesus. John was one of the original twelve apostles. Paul, an apostle, was marvelously used of the Lord to give us needed instruction on how to live as Christians, saints in the New Testament church. 1.

The Epistles were written to “saints” who had already been “born again of the water and Spirit.” Actual baptisms of water and Spirit are not recorded in the Epistles.

2.

The Epistles give instruction on how to continue to live the Christian life.

3.

Problems faced by early New Testament churches give us great insight into desired theology and methods required of us as New Testament believers today.

RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD When a person understands the order of the New Testament— Gospels, Acts, and Epistles—they can find the correct answers to a Christian conversion and life. Notice the following passages written by the apostles Paul and John. Our postmodern society does not like absolutes, but these cannot be dismissed in light of the order of the New Testament canon. Compare Paul’s preached message of Acts 19:1-6 to the passages he wrote later to “saints.” It would be a dangerous mistake to dismiss the earlier Book of Acts and impose these as the New Testament salvation process. These are post-salvation observations: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with

the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). Many use this as a “sinner’s prayer” conversion experience. That is certainly not the salvation message of the apostle Paul. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Some use this verse to prove that a person doesn’t have to do anything to be saved. However, the gospel message of the apostles requires repentance and baptism in Jesus’ name. God saves us through the new-birth experience. “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26). This is used by some to say that all you have to do to wash your sins away is to read the Word. Look again at the order of the New Testament canon. “Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret” (I Corinthians 12:30)? This is used by some to say Paul taught that not everyone spoke with tongues. Go back to his message in Acts 19:1-6 and I Corinthians 14:39: “Forbid not to speak with tongues.” Compare the following passages written by the apostle John (John 3:5; 5:43; 14:6, 26) to his later writing. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death” (I John 3:14). Love is very important, but it is a fruit of the Spirit after receiving the Holy Spirit. We as a church must sincerely preach the whole gospel to the whole world. Let us continually search the Scriptures and rightly divide them—Gospels, Acts, and Epistles.

Don Martin has pastored Tulsa Metro Pentecostal Church for fifteen years and Collinsville First Pentecostal Church for nine years. He serves the Oklahoma District as the Global Missions director. In addition to his pastoral duties, he is currently a student at UGST.

MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

17


C O N G R E S S Y O U T H A M E R I C A N

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

U P WA R D

>

N O R T H

2015 18

>

I N WA R D

O U T WA R D

>


GENERAL YOUTH DIVISION BY JAMES CARNEY

Why We Take Our Students to North American Youth Congress n August 2013 more than thirty students and staff members from our congregation traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to attend North American Youth Congress. It was a 1,300-mile round trip that was an investment of one week and several hundreds of dollars per person. It was worth every day and dollar we invested. Attending NAYC was nothing new for Woodlawn students. Our church has been represented at every NAYC since the event’s inception. I personally have joined our group at every NAYC. I have witnessed firsthand the powerful impact NAYC has had on our students and student ministry. At each event, our young people receive fresh anointing and renewed commitment to Apostolic principles. Several have been called into the ministry. The excitement is infectious and spills over into the rest of our congregation. Revival breaks out when our students return home. Perhaps you are wondering whether attending this year’s NAYC event is worth the effort and expense. I assure you that it will be. Here are the top reasons I feel you need to mark North American Youth Congress 2015 on your church calendar today.

NAYC reveals the big picture.

>

NAYC has become the largest worship event the UPCI offers in North America. At NAYC 2013, more than 18,000 people gathered under one roof to celebrate Jesus Christ and the Apostolic message. A Pentecostal worship service of that size is life changing, especially for young people who never have been exposed to that type of environment. Consider the demographic reality: The majority of UPCI churches in North America are located in rural areas. The average UPC congregation is comprised of less than one hundred people, which means the average youth group has less than twenty students. As a result, many students feel isolated. But when they walk into the arena on the first

night of NAYC, their eyes are opened. They realize they are not alone; they are part of a global movement that offers connection, support, and community. For three nights and two days students at NAYC have an opportunity to be part of the largest Apostolic youth group in the world. When students witness the passion and commitment demonstrated by thousands of their peers, they are inspired to increase their own level of involvement. A domino effect occurs. New spiritual disciplines are established. Students are infused with fresh energy and excitement. The result is transformation.

NAYC determines destinies.

Students are like the rest of us; they sometimes fall into ruts and routines. They can grow comfortable in the surroundings of their home church and lose spiritual awareness. When this happens, it becomes easy to tune out the voices of God, pastors, and parents. In Scripture God often interrupted routines and pushed people out of their comfort zone before He placed His call on their lives. NAYC allows students to step away from their normal routine and spend time in a spiritually-soaked atmosphere. Fresh voices speak into their lives, reinforcing messages they have heard at home. In that setting students often are more receptive to God’s call. I have witnessed this in the lives of Woodlawn students. As our group worshiped together during NAYC 2013, God transformed lives. Two young men from our group were especially impacted during the 2013 event. Now that we are home, it’s my privilege to watch the dreams God gave in Louisville become reality in Columbia, Mississippi.

NAYC creates connections.

Isolation is the mother of twins: paranoia and suspicion. That’s why Woodlawn Church is committed to being

in community with other believers across North America. NAYC provides the best opportunity for our students to connect with that community. At NAYC, students from our church have developed relationships with fellow Apostolics from across the country. This creates a network of peer support that provides encouragement during tough times. It also is a constant reminder that we are part of something bigger than our local church. We also have discovered that attending NAYC brings Woodlawn students closer together. You cannot spend three days worshiping and praying with the group without learning to love each other a little more. Even parts of the trip that may seem difficult or irritating—the long bus ride to the event city, sharing a hotel room, eating every meal together—create memories and help build relationships that will last a lifetime. Our student ministry staff also benefits from the opportunity to rub shoulders with other student ministers. Because everything at NAYC is done with excellence, our staff is inspired to pursue excellence at Woodlawn Church. They attempt to reproduce what they see at NAYC on a smaller scale at home. Perhaps you are questioning whether it is worth the investment to bring your students to NAYC. All I can say is that Woodlawn Church has made regular attendance at NAYC part of the culture of our student ministry. God takes the money, effort, and energy we expend to attend this event and multiplies it into a biennial blessing. If the Lord wills, Woodlawn Church’s student group will be in attendance at NAYC 2015, and I’ll be with them. We will see you August 5-7, 2015, in Oklahoma City! For more information visit www.northamericanyouthcongress.com James Carney is the pastor of Woodlawn United Pentecostal Church in Columbia, Mississippi. MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

19


IT IS THE POWER of GOD

UNTO SALVATION

The Gospel of Jesus Christ David K. Bernard

Take your understanding of the gospel to new heights with David K. Bernard’s The Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this two-session video series(on one DVD), he walks point by point through the gospel of Jesus Christ, teaching how to apply this life-giving message to our lives. Not only will this series add to your understanding of the gospel, but it will also better equip you to share it with confidence. Given the positive and engaging style of the presenter, you will be comfortable sharing the series with people who need to hear the gospel. This is a message the world needs to hear. 26206

DVD

$19.99

Also by David K. Bernard 17060 19511 24976

Understanding God’s Word Apostolic Life Pursuing Holiness

$13.99 $13.99 $13.99

All titles also available in e-book for $9.99

20

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

PentecostalPublishing.com


[PEOPLE OF THE BOOK]

It Was Just a Book DORSEY BURK

t the invitation of missionaries Steve and Jean Tir, my wife and I went to Serbia in October 2014 for a prayer conference and to teach in the Bible colleges. This was the first prayer conference for the Serbian church and was well attended. The students from both the Balkan Bible Institute and Zion Bible College joined together for the joint session on Saturday. I was excited to recognize the caliber of the students. Some were professionals or had their own businesses. They were intelligent and had a passion to learn as was evidenced as they scribbled notes as I taught. Pastor Jaroslav Andrášik is one of the regular Bible school instructors. He asked if I could send him a book that he needed for one of his classes. I really thought little about it. It was, after all, just a book. However, that book resulted in the following note from Brother Andrášik: I want to take this opportunity to THANK you personally for sending me a book: A History of Christian Doctrine volume 3, written by our beloved brother, General Superintendent of UPCI, David K. Bernard. I cannot find enough words to express my gratitude, because you have blessed me with valuable book. Will you please extend my greetings, best wishes and gratitude to Brother Bernard for signing that book for me. You have blessed me beyond my dreams. I am a reader and this book will have significant place in my own personal library. I was raised in communistic Yugoslavia and we had no access to any Christian books for number of years. I have obtained my first personal Bible in my own language in 1974 and that Bible was smuggled through the borders of communistic

Yugoslavia. Since then many things have changed, and now through the means of internet and electronic communications we have access to many good materials which are helping us, and enabling us to grow spiritually. In saying all of this you will understand why I am so thankful and am cherishing books like you have given to me. May God continue to bless and prosper you in everything. Please convey my greetings to all officials in Headquarter in Saint Louis and to your family. We love and appreciate you in the Lord very much. Until we see you again, may God bless you abundantly. I was overwhelmed by Brother Andrášik’s gratitude. After all, it was just a book. However, he jolted me into realizing how blessed I have been all my life to have free access to numerous English translations of the Bible and a wide array of Christian literature—many written by our own Apostolic brothers and sisters. Just a book? Not hardly. In Brother Andrášik’s hands, it becomes a tool to train laborers for a spiritual harvest in Eastern Europe. How privileged I am to be a person of the Book and to share books—training tools—with godly men around the world! Thank you, Brother Andrášik, for the reminder.

Dorsey Burk has worked in Global Missions for thirty-six years in addition to serving under full-missionary appointment to Germany. He and his wife, Beverly, delight in teaching in the overseas Bible schools. They attend New Life Center in Bridgeton, Missouri.

MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

21


2015 NORTHEAST REGIONAL

SUMMONS TO SACRIFICE

KINGDOM EXPLOITS!

CONTACT: 314-837-7300 X295

LMARSHALL@WNOP.ORG

“BUT THE PEOPLE THAT DO KNOW THEIR GOD SHALL BE STRONG, AND DO EXPLOITS” (DANIEL 11:32B).

EARLY REGISTRATION BY APRIL 15, 2015 ADULT $50 COUPLE $80 CHILD $20 FAMILY $100

SPEAKERS:

CHESTER WRIGHT LEE STONEKING DWAYNE SHAW FLO SHAW LISA MARSHALL RON LIBBY SEAN LIBBY COLLEEN CLABAUGH

22

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

SV JI AM 4 GR

, 5 E4

N U J 315

ND A L Y MAR R

5 1 20

D LAN Y E R T A EN ,M IFE C SVILLE L N A M ISTI , IJA CHR EY RD. L Y VAL LIBB EEN

LLE,

I

D YLAN00 R A M 5 ICK, -698-2 R E 1 D FRE ALL: 30 * N C N ON I : $105 T P HAM M RATE ROO

FOR TS M A L OGR D ADU R P N L FUL DREN A CHIL

T

HOS

TO PAS

RON RS:

N

, SEA Y B B I

G R P.O

L

O N W

JUNE 6, 2015 

SATURDAY: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM 

OPERATION DC!

TOUR HOSTS: DAVID & BRENDA HUDSON WNOP PRAYER WALK/DRIVE AT OUR NATION’S CAPITOL “STRATEGIC END-TIME PRAYER FOR A GREAT SPIRITUAL AWAKENING AND REVIVAL IN AMERICA” (II CHRONICLES 7:14) 


5

!

, .

15 

PM 

C! SON

TOL UAL :14) 

WORLDLINE BY BRUCE HOWELL

Your Network of Missionaries he benefits of Global Missions are easy to see and to celebrate on the field, but there are also a host of indirect benefits that are just as real. Let me introduce you to David Huston, who pastors in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Not long ago, I read the following account from him. The vision of Global Missions is to fulfill Jesus’ mandate from Matthew 24:14 (NKJV), “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” But our vast global network of missionaries sometimes fulfills other subsidiary missions. Let me offer two examples of what I mean. I received an email from the wife of a friend living in Latvia telling me that they were having some serious personal issues. I wept when I read her message, thinking, “How can I help them? They live so far away.” I decided to see if we had a missionary in the area, and sure enough, Mark and Robin Shutes lived right there. I contacted Brother Shutes, and he let me know he was aware of the situation. He asked if there was any way I could come over to help these people. At first I thought, “There’s just no way.” As it happened, however, I had a trip to South Africa planned in just a few weeks, so we arranged to fly to Latvia from London on our way home. When I told Brother Shutes that we were able to come, he invited us to teach a marriage seminar at the church in Riga while we were there. My wife and I ended up being able to spend some time

with our friends and also minister to the local church. Thank you, Brother Shutes. Then, just a short time later, a woman my wife works with told her that her daughter had gone to El Salvador on a missions trip and had been in a traffic accident and was in the hospital. The missions organization she was traveling with had called to let her know, but couldn’t give her any information about how serious her daughter’s injuries were. This lady was obviously distressed and didn’t know what to do. I told my wife, “I think we know someone in El Salvador.” So I checked and found that, sure enough, Ken and Kay Burgess were there. They had been some of the first deputizing missionaries we hosted when we moved to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, back in 1992. In fact, we had not even been able to give them a service; they just stayed the night at our house. But that was enough for my wife to tell her friend, “We know someone in El Salvador.” I called and quickly got ahold of Sister Kay Burgess. After telling her the story, she asked us to give her a little time, and she would get back to us. Within just a few hours, we received a copy of an email she had sent to my wife’s co-worker. She said that she had been to the hospital and found her daughter, and she described the nature of her injuries. Sister Burgess went back to visit the daughter the next day and sent a more detailed description of the injuries. Wow! Thank you, Sister Burgess.

Needless to say, my wife became the hero of her company that day. Everyone was talking about how Barbara knew someone in El Salvador who went to find Deb’s daughter in the hospital. What a powerful witness! Thank you, Global Missions, for establishing such a great worldwide network of missionaries who are endeavoring to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, and who at times serve the people of God in other very important and powerful ways. It is well worth investing in Global Missions. I am thankful for these stories and others like them of the people of God reaching around the globe to minister because of their connection with our missionaries. Now let me leave you with more good news from other places in the world. Steve and Yvette Phelps reported from Uganda that a Bible college student “went back to his village and started witnessing to three individuals about what he had learned at college. The three were baptized in the wonderful name of Jesus. One of the men was a Muslim, and now he is converted!” Fonzell and Vanencia Marsh wrote from the Asia Military District, “We had the privilege and blessing from God to have five deployed Marines from California come and worship with us. Four of the five were filled with the Holy Ghost while here, and the last two were baptized in Jesus’ name.” Bruce Howell is the general director of Global Missions.

MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

23


[PEOPLE OF THE BOOK]

The Indelible Impact of G.T. Haywood

on the Apostolic Movement TA L M A D G E L . F R E N C H

ne of the primary motifs of early Oneness Pentecostals was that of “Back to the Bible,” motivated by a conviction they were witnessing the fulfillment of Zechariah 14:7: “At evening time it shall be light.” The highly successful African American pastor G.T. Haywood, one of the movement’s earliest and preeminent leaders, published David Lee Floyd’s encouraging words in 1916, in his own influential periodical, The Voice in the Wilderness: “Praise God! Of a truth, God is most graciously blessing his people who are willing to walk in the light” (vol. 1, no. 18). The rallying cry of these pioneers of Pentecost, as reported by participants such as B.F. Lawrence, was “Back to the Bible!” Early Apostolics were driven by the conviction that the light of the Spirit upon their understanding of the Word of God was God’s own unprecedented latter day work. Haywood interpreted the latter day outpouring of the Spirit, for example, and the revelation and understanding of the truth of the name of Jesus and baptism in His name, as the fulfillment of Psalm 81:16 regarding “the finest of the wheat” and the “honey out of the rock.” “O Sweet Wonder,” officially entitled, “The Son of God,” perhaps Haywood’s most impacting and well-known hymn, was inspired by his application of this psalm to the importance of the Bible, its fulfillment, and the prominence of Apostolic doctrine. 24

P E N T E CO S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

“Our souls are being ‘fed with the finest of the wheat,’” he wrote. “Daily there cometh down from heaven to us ‘our daily bread.’ The beauties of the revelation of ‘the Father and Son’ in Christ; the New Birth of water and Spirit; the Seven Parables and Seven Candlesticks; the closing of the dispensation; the Revelation of the Ages; the Federation of the Nations, and many other heretofore hidden mysteries of God, truly have become ‘hidden manna’ in our hearts” (Special 2nd edition). The dynamic delivery of his Bible preaching and the depth of knowledge in his Bible teaching, resulted in Haywood’s reputation as one of the movement’s most able ministers and captivating speakers. Biographers would speak of his amazing ability to memorize verses of the Bible and then quote them like bullets from a gun in the propagation and defense of the Jesus’ name message. A talented illustrator and painter, he produced several large, beautiful, colorful teaching charts on subjects such as salvation, Creation, the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, and the second coming of Jesus. Haywood’s enduring legacy, though, is his Bible preaching and teaching regarding the deity of Jesus and the oneness of God. In his notable work The Victim of the Flaming Sword, for example, he was sure to revisit his original interpretation of the Godhead, from Luke 10:21-22, as shrouded in mystery through the church age (“thou hast hid these things”), but revealed in Christ. Such an interpretation of verse twentytwo anticipates that a final, end-time revelation would open people’s understanding to the Spirit’s outpouring and to the true nature of the Godhead. “All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” For Haywood, this passage illustrates


MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

25


Some of the most unique and beautifully presented explanations of God’s absolute oneness and of Jesus’ full deity have come from the pen of G.T. Haywood and his Bible interpretation of the doctrine of Christ. that the difficulty lies in the fact that there is, necessarily, a divine mystery, the Incarnation, the mystery of Christ as both divine and human, both the high priest and the Lamb, both God and man, both Father and Son. On the one hand Jesus is Creator, “by himself” (Isaiah 44:24), and on the other, he is the creature, born of woman. But, Haywood adds, “He that built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4). No one was going to reduce Jesus to a mere holy man or to a second person of the Godhead, not on Haywood’s watch! Some of the most unique and beautifully presented explanations of God’s absolute oneness and of Jesus’ full deity have come from the pen of G.T. Haywood and his Bible interpretation of the doctrine of Christ. One of his earliest and most notable, for example, was published in The Voice in the Wilderness with its worldwide circulation, under the title “Rose of Sharon: Mystery of Revelation” (vol. 1, no.18). “The Mystery of Revelation,” he wrote, commenting on Ephesians 1:10, “is like unto the blossoms of the rose,” which cannot be forced open. “Leave it until its appointed time, it will unfold itself in all its beauty, every petal in its place and the air will be filled with its fragrance.” The beauty of the aroma, the wonder of the fragrance, all symbolized the magnificence, in Haywood’s interpretation, of the mystery of the Godhead, the sweet wonder of the Son of God! Two other related, equally impacting articles, further illustrate Haywood’s genius for interpreting pertinent scriptural passages, and they appear in the same powerful issue of The Voice in the Wilderness. The Oneness movement was at the height of its early controversy over the Godhead and Jesus’ Name baptism, and Haywood’s teachings were among the most sought after and cherished in efforts to comprehend the contours of the debate. In this context, he wrote the article “That Alabaster Box” (Mark 14:3-9). That alabaster box may seem insignificant, but it symbolically represents the very things people can come to so highly prize, even above the Word of God and the will of God. Haywood applied this to denominational doctrines, alabaster boxes that we refuse to break. “Break your man-made views,” he wrote, “concerning water baptism and let the name of Jesus have pre-eminence.” In the midst of the earliest controversy he had added two verses of Scripture, Mark 16:16 and John 3:5, to the masthead of his Voice in the Wilderness. In “The Alabaster Box” he argued, “Break your idea of the new birth and let John 3:5 26

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

and Acts 2:38 blend together with Mark 16:16-17.” “God help us,” he prayed, “not to be afraid to break our alabaster boxes.” Able handlers of the Word of God! Able defenders of the apostles’ doctrine! The early Apostolic pioneers blazed a future path for the movement shaped by their love for the Bible, impacting commitment to Apostolic doctrine to this day. Men and women like Haywood impressed upon generations to come the importance of the name of Jesus and His deity. In an article titled “Jesus Is Both,” Haywood answered the question of whether ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ require belief in separate persons by amassing an array of scriptural examples in which Jesus is both! Jesus is the one God Almighty become incarnate, not two separate persons, one of which had been hidden for four thousand years! In the article Haywood masterfully worked his way through not less than seven passages that demonstrate that Jesus is viewed scripturally as being both divine and human, yet in one person. In Psalm 2 and in Acts 2 Haywood interpreted this to be the case in the words “this same Jesus” is “both Lord and Christ,” both Father and Anointed One. In Luke 20:41-44, Jesus is both David’s Lord and David’s offspring. He pointed out that this is a significant reality about Jesus: He is both the high priest and the sacrifice (Hebrews 8:3), both the root and the offspring (Revelation 1:7-15), both the God of Abraham and the promised seed of Abraham. In conclusion, a quote from this same article seems most inspiring and appropriate, coming after Haywood had emphasized that Isaiah 9:6 declared Jesus to be both the Son born and the eternal “Father,” the “mighty God.” He then turned to the Gospel of John (14:8). “When Philip, in his curiosity, desired to see the Father, separate from the person of Jesus, the Lord suddenly revealed unto them the fact that when they saw Him, they saw BOTH the Father and the Son.” “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9, emphasis added). Talmadge L. French, (PhD, University of Birmingham) Wheaton, Illinois, pastors Apostolic Tabernacle in Jonesboro, Georgia. He is the author of Our God Is One: The Story of the Oneness Pentecostals, and the new release, Early Interracial Oneness Pentecostalism, Pickwick Publications, Eugene, Oregon, both of which are available at pentecostalpublishing.com


NORTH AMERICAN MISSIONS BY CARLTON L. COON SR.

Having Been to the War . . .

I

ve never served in America’s armed forces; therefore, my observations about the struggle and dangers for a soldier would be immaterial. But there is credibility in hearing the voice of one who has been in a foxhole or a tank or seen the effects of a roadside bomb. Scott Armstrong has been to the war— on behalf of our country in Desert Storm and on behalf of Christ’s kingdom as a church planter. The North American Missions team welcomes veteran church planter Scott Armstrong as our director of Promotions and Publications. He was appointed at our most recent General Conference. Scott is the pioneering pastor of Church Alive in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. The church in Mount Juliet has been the mother to two daughter churches, both of which are thriving. The church in Mount Juliet (just outside Nashville) is dynamic, with a lovely building and a growing congregation. Pastor Armstrong and wife, Susan, have two wonderful adult children. Both Chris and Rachel have been involved in ministry. Chris and his family are now pastoring a church in the Nashville area. This family has been engaged in the spiritual war of church planting, establishing daughter churches, and developing preachers for release in ministry. One of the greatest influences in the Armstrongs’ lives comes from Phil DePriest in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Pastor DePriest has raised up a family of preaching points, daughter churches that mature and become autonomous. Brother Armstrong has practiced the same approach. It was from Pastor DePriest that the five-fingered principle of establishing a church took hold:

Home Bible Study Small Group Preaching Point Daughter Church Autonomous work (Do it again!) The Armstrong family has learned the five-fingered principle of growth well, having practiced it and influenced others around North America to do the same. Scott has served as the Tennessee director of North American Missions for the past five years. Building on a platform of growth established by former director Terry Arnold, the Tennessee District has experienced consistent growth in new church starts and daughter churches. Each year there has been both an increase in the offering to Christmas for Christ and the percentage of churches giving to North American Missions. Through the years his service to North American Missions has been extensive, having served on several committees of the Board of Directors, participated in the Board of Directors planning team, and in 2013 received the Michael Schmaltz Director of the Year Award. Over the past year he led a team of district directors in developing the Keys to Church Planting resource for church planters. This resource was so well received that several district directors purchased a Keys to Church Planting USB drive for every pastor in their district. Scott Armstrong’s motivation regarding the need to plant churches is quite personal and passionate. As a child, his family attended a denominational church. When a member of the Armstrong extended family was baptized in Jesus’ name and had received

the Holy Ghost, Scott’s family began to hear about what had been experienced. Through time, God brought his parents to a full revelation of truth. They repented, were baptized in Jesus’ name, and received the Holy Ghost. However, there was no Apostolic church of any kind in the county in which they resided. The Armstrong family drove a significant distance to find a church where they could grow in God. Their unbelieving neighbors were not interested in going to church with the Armstrong family—the distance was just too far. Today the memory of both the distance traveled and the inability to reach their neighbors drives the passion and vision in Scott Armstrong. His passionate purpose through the years has been, “I work for the day when no person will have to drive across a county line to find a United Pentecostal Church.” Great need propels men to war; the need of the lost propels one to war of a different sort. In only moments of conversation it is obvious that the Armstrongs are serious and passionate about church planting and growth. The principles they live by and practice have been taught in multiple districts. For information about Keys to Church Planting, his ideas regarding starting daughter churches, or simply to share your thoughts on how North American Missions can be more effective, he can be reached at sarmstrong@upci.org. Carlton L. Coon Sr. is the general director of North American Missions.

MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

27


[PEOPLE OF THE BOOK]

Sharing “The Book” R YA N N . F R A N K L I N

She fell back in the office chair speaking in tongues as the Spirit of God gave her the utterance. Then we walked down the long hallway from my office to the already-warm baptistery at The Pentecostals of Alexandria and baptized her in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of her sins. This was the end result of sharing “The Book.” 28

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

A


A

n elderly African American lady came in to the reception desk on a weekday morning and requested to talk to a minister. I happened to be the only available minister at the time, so I walked down to the receptionist’s office and greeted Mrs. Linda. She began to explain how the Lord had been prompting her for over a week to come to this church but she had no idea why. Mrs. Linda was faithful in her attendance at a church of another denomination. Prompted by the Holy Ghost, I instantly knew exactly why she was there. I asked her if she had some time—about forty-five minutes—for me to share something with her. She agreed and followed me to my office. Salvation Made Simple is a guided study and a great way to share “The Book.” When we approached the end of the brief study, I asked her the questions at the end. The last question, “Mrs. Linda, do you believe when you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost you will speak with other tongues as the Spirit gives you the utterance?” I didn’t even get the question completely out of my mouth and she lifted her hands and began to call on the name of the Lord. I got up, laid hands on her head, and she fell back speaking in other tongues. What a phenomenal moment! If the world didn’t “just happen,” if we didn’t evolve from a fish, if the big bang really isn’t how we all got here, then why? Why would God create this unique being called “man” and make him so different from all the others? Why would God create me specifically? Why are my abilities so far past any other living creature? Beyond obvious reasons of pleasing and serving God, I’m really not sure. There are many things I don’t understand about this life, but I do know this: Christ is real. Christ is real in my life. He saved me from a life of sin and selfishness. He saved me from a path that would only lead to destruction. He delivered me from the mask I wore most of my early life. I know Jesus Christ is here with me and for me every day. I may not have all the answers to all of life’s questions, but I know Jesus Christ has impacted my life for the present as well as for eternity. I know this because I feel the effects of His Spirit in my life. Because I know what Christ has done in my life, I am driven to want to introduce others to the saving power of Jesus Christ. Because I know His purpose for coming to Earth was to give life and to give it more abundantly, I can’t help but feel that same burden and passion to reach out to the lost and hurting people around me. Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” There is nothing more fulfilling and nothing more satisfying than sharing “The Book” with an individual and then watching them respond to the power of God. God doesn’t need me to be perfect. Soulwinning and sharing “The Book” is not an exact science. It’s really not a science at all. God just wants me to seek His kingdom and His righteousness, to build and maintain relationship with Him. He wants me to do my best at my work, my family, and my church right here in my community—my real life story in other people’s lives. With all of its

flaws and awkwardness, that simple example can be one of the most convincing proofs of God they will ever see. When you understand your role in the process, it can be one of the most natural and rewarding experiences you will ever know. The disciples in the Bible stopped fishing for a little while, and they didn’t run or hide. They didn’t seclude themselves from people. They spent the next several years living and ministering among many of the same people they already knew. You see, soulwinning and sharing “The Book” is about only one thing: relationships. It’s about our relationship with God, of course, and second, it’s about our relationship with other people. We were created for relationships. Chances are there are people you come in contact with on a regular basis who don’t come in contact with any other Apostolic person. You hold a treasure you alone can give to those certain people in your life. Let me say it in a different way. You hold a treasure that certain people in your life may never experience if you don’t share it with them. This Kingdom purpose is about building relationships with people to lead them to Christ and then to disciple them to continue to walk with Him. It’s really not that difficult. You don’t have to stand up in your shopping cart in the middle of the grocery store and preach the gospel in a booming voice. Put simply, it is being intentional with every person God strategically places in your life— building relationships and sharing “The Book.” In April of 2014, Russell came to the church prayer room “just needing help.” Pastor Anthony Mangun happened to be walking through and introduced himself to Russell. Within ten minutes, the entire church staff was gathered around him praying as he repented to God. It wasn’t long and Russell received the Holy Ghost. Shortly after, Pastor Mangun baptized him in the name of Jesus Christ. Within a couple of weeks, Russell started POA Orientation and I began a Bible study with him. We spent the next eight months studying “The Book” primarily with a Bible study tool called The Bible Made Simple. He made huge strides in learning what the Bible has to say about salvation and Christian living. I have no idea what will happen to Russell next. I will continue to try to maintain our relationship, continue to share “The Book,” and watch God work in his life. Every individual presents a different situation. Yet Jesus was very intentional in His methods of making disciples. You’re a child of God and you’re here on earth for relationship with Him and relationship with others. I believe in something bigger than “me,” something bigger than my own selfish ambition, something bigger than my own desires. We must get intentional with sharing “The Book” with every individual God strategically places in our lives. I believe in the heartbeat of Christ—to seek and save the lost. I want His heart and mind to be in me. I must join Jesus Christ in the Kingdom quest to seek and save the lost!

Ryan N. Franklin is a licensed minister, teacher, and pastor’s assistant at The Pentecostals of Alexandria in Alexandria, Louisiana. Ryan has been in full-time ministry for over ten years. He is a longtime Bible study teacher and writer. Ryan’s published works include The Bible Made Simple and Salvation Made Simple (available for purchase at pentecostalpublishing.com). MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

29


[PEOPLE OF THE BOOK]

ROBIN JOHNSTON

n 2007 the Amazon Corporation released the first generation Kindle e-reader. Although it was not the first e-reader in the marketplace, it soon captured America’s attention. It wasn’t long until electronic publishing began to make significant inroads into the book business. Each new innovation, however, comes with its own challenges. Some are simple changes in how we interact with a product. For example, paper books have page numbers designed to help readers find their place and cite their quotations. In the e-book world page numbers are fluid; they depend on both the size of the reader and the size and style of the font. To help with this issue, Amazon introduced a system of location numbers; each location number represents 128 bytes of data. Now when I grade my student’s research papers, footnotes often look different. Instead of just page numbers they often contain Kindle location numbers. While they are helpful in finding our way around a document, these Kindle location numbers have no discernable effect on how we understand the document being read on the Kindle device. This is not the case with a couple of innovations developed centuries ago to help people find their way around the biblical text. Those innovations—the division of books of the Bible into chapters and verses—have changed the way we both read and understand the Bible. They tend to make us stand too close to the text. Because the vast majority of our Bibles use chapters and verses, it is common to mistakenly think they were placed in the text by the original writers. This, however, is not the case. Both were developed more than a thousand years after the last book of the biblical canon was written. Although 30

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

Jewish scholars have long had systems designed to help find their way in what we know as the Old Testament, it is widely held that Stephen Langton, who served as the archbishop of Canterbury in the thirteenth century, developed the system of chapters used in contemporary Bibles. Robert Stephanus, a fifteenth-century Protestant Bible printer, is credited with our current structure of verses. Legend suggests that he added the verses while he was traveling from Paris to Geneva to escape persecution for daring to print a Bible. The 1557 Geneva Bible, the first complete English-language Bible, used Stephanus’s verse convention in addition to Langton’s chapters. I doubt that either Langton or Stephanus had any idea how profoundly their innovations would impact our Bible reading and understanding. There is no question that chapters and verses are helpful. The Bible is a long book with over seven hundred eighty thousand words, which is easily ten times the length of an average non-fiction book. In addition the Bible is a compilation of sixty-six smaller books. Chapters and verses make the navigation of the text much more manageable. There is, however, a significant downside to this convenience. It tempts us to stand too close to the text. We end up reading the Bible in ways we would never read any other book. This is not to suggest the Bible is not different than any other book ever written. It is the very Word of God—written by holy men inspired by the Spirit. It alone contains the words of life. For this reason we should reverence the Bible. But the division of the biblical text into chapters and verses tempts us to think that each verse is a stand-alone truth. Frequently we are too focused on questions like, “ What does this verse mean?” Or we proof text a principle thinking that the Bible


contains 31,102 separate truths—equal to the number of individual verses in the KJV Bible. We would never approach any other text in this way. Can you imagine yourself picking up a book and randomly flipping it open to a page about a third of the way through, scanning down to the seventh sentence on that page and having any degree of confidence that you knew exactly what the author was trying to say? It might occasionally work but the vast majority of readers know they need context before they can truly understand a sentence. Context is gained by standing back from the individual sentence. You read a significant portion of what comes before and after the selected sentence. Ideally you read from the beginning of the book or article. You ascertain the author’s theme and try to understand how he or she is using language. You stand back a bit from the text. We would greatly benefit from using a similar reading strategy when studying the Bible. A second way chapters and verses interfere with proper understanding is in their tendency to level the text. If the Bible is a collection of individual verses, then it is flat. By this I mean it ignores the genre used by the writer, which is critical for correct meaning. For example, the meaning of a sentence used in a poem is different from that same sentence used in an historical account. If you read a verse from Psalms the same way you would read one from I Corinthians, then you will probably misinterpret and misapply the verse. As strange as it may seem to us, God in His infinite wisdom chose to have the men He inspired to write the biblical text do so in various literary styles. There are days when we question His wisdom. There are times when we may long for a Bible written in a rulebook fashion, when all it contains is

“thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots,” when all questions of interpretation would be moot. But He knows better. Our principal calling is not to follow a set of rules; it is to experience a relationship with God. And while He never changes, we do. When we meet Him we come with vastly different life experiences and cognitive abilities. God designed His Word so it could reach all people. He designed a document that could inspire people from across the globe and from right next door. To accomplish this, He used a variety of genres, most of which require that the readers stand back from the text so they can properly understand what God is trying to say. If the entire Bible was like the Book of Proverbs then perhaps we could focus on individual verses, which in Proverbs often contain a single truth. But Proverbs is just a small piece of the Bible. Other books, such as the Gospel of Matthew come alive in new ways when we stand back from the text. From a distance you can see how Matthew places all people into three categories; those with great faith, those with little faith, and those with no faith. What possibilities for application come to mind when we begin to see that the “no faith” people are the religious folks, those who should have great faith. Even those with little faith—in Matthew it’s the disciples—surprise us. But the greatest surprise and challenge comes from the “great faith” people—the outsiders who had little opportunity but took advantage of that small window to place their trust unreservedly in Christ. Who knows what treasure you might find in the scriptures when you stand back a bit from the text? Robin Johnston is the editor in chief and publisher of the United Pentecostal Church International. MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

31


[PEOPLE OF THE BOOK]

Understanding the Context of the Holy Bible DA N I E L L . S E G R AV E S

ome students surprised me one day at Urshan Graduate School of Theology when they entered the classroom wearing shirts with my picture printed on them. Next to my face was a dialogue bubble reading, “Context. Context. Context.” I recognized the shirts. Years before, students at the Bible college where I taught for twenty-five years had arranged to have the shirts printed as a fundraiser. They chose the slogan because they heard me say—probably at some point in every course—that the most important matter in interpreting Scripture was context. And I didn’t stop there. I often told them that just as the three most important words in real estate are location, location, location, so the three most important words in understanding the Bible are context, context, context. Somehow the graduate students at UGST found out about the shirts, recognized this was still my favorite slogan, and decided to surprise me. I was amused but also thankful to know I had succeeded in imprinting this important idea on the minds of students seeking to understand Scripture. Students are often surprised when I tell them dictionaries do not define words, but that words are defined by the context in which they are used. Dictionaries can be helpful, especially if they are unabridged. Unabridged dictionaries provide sentences demonstrating a variety of ways in which a word can be used. In each sentence, there will be differences in the meaning of the word under consideration. These differences may range from subtle nuances to radically diverse 32

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

meanings. When I discuss this concept in a classroom, I often write the following letters on a whiteboard: BASS. I ask the students what this means. Some say it refers to a fish. Someone may think it refers to a kind of guitar. Occasionally, a student will say it refers to a man with a deep voice. When they’re finished guessing, I tell them that as the letters stand on the whiteboard they mean nothing, for they have no context. Even minimal context would immediately determine the meaning of “bass.” For instance, if I wrote, “He caught a bass,” no one would think the letters referred to a guitar or to the quartet member who usually stands on the far right. Context could be created, however, without the use of another word. If I wrote the letters BASS on a whiteboard and drew a music note beneath them, no one would think they referred to a singing fish. There would still be uncertainty, however, as to whether the reference was to a guitar or a quartet singer. More context would be needed. Pop culture often redefines words by using them in unusual contexts. Susan, my wife, recently read the Facebook post of a student who wrote, “Dr. Segraves is the beast.” Since she knew this student had asked to have his picture made with me, she assumed he didn’t mean I was the beast spoken of in the Book of Revelation. She thought “beast” was probably a typographical error, so she replied to him that Dr. Segraves was the “best.” I appreciated her support. But when the student responded, we learned that in the context of pop culture, “beast” means something like “awesome.” I was happy to hear this. People who speak in public, like preachers and teachers, often redefine words accidently by using


Since the Bible is made up of words, those who read it must be alert to the importance of context to determine meaning. And since the Bible is such a big and ancient book, we must keep in mind that there are several levels of context to consider. them in ways found in no dictionary. This can be embarrassing, but people usually get the point. I remember, for instance, hearing a preacher say that we are to praise God with the pastry and harp. Since we knew he was reading from Psalm 150, none of us thought we are commanded to praise God with a donut, although that may not be a bad idea. Since the Bible is made up of words, those who read it must be alert to the importance of context to determine meaning. And since the Bible is such a big and ancient book, we must keep in mind that there are several levels of context to consider. First, there is the context of each word within a sentence. This may be especially important to remember when reading older translations that use words with nuances differing from today’s range of meaning. For example, in the King James Version, Peter’s instruction to wives whose husbands do not obey the Word includes this phrase: “They also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives” (I Peter 3:1). When we think of “conversation,” talking is involved. It may seem, then, that Peter taught that believing women could talk their unbelieving husbands into being saved. More recent translations, like the New King James Version, correct this misunderstanding: “They, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.” This is a better translation, but by paying careful attention to the context of “conversation” in the KJV, a reader would see that Peter did not encourage wives to think they could talk their husbands into faith, because “conversation” is used in the context of “without the word.” Second, there is the context within which the sentence appears. In other words, there are sentences before and after the sentence one is reading. To ignore this immediate context often results in the creation of proof texts that bear little or no relationship to the meaning that would result from considering three or more sentences in a row. As someone said long ago, a text without a context is a pretext. Third, there is the context of the entire biblical book. If we seek to interpret only one verse or selected verses, we may come up with an idea foreign to the overall meaning of the book we are reading. For instance, Ecclesiastes 7:16 reads, “Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?” Before we leap to the conclusion that the Bible teaches us to be moderate in our righteousness and wisdom, it would be a good idea to read Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. Fourth, there is the context of the testament from which we are reading. There is a reason we have the “Old Testament” and the “New Testament,” although these sections of 34

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

Scripture would perhaps better be referred to as the “Old Covenant” and the “New Covenant.” To a large degree, the Old Testament is taken up with the covenant God established with Israel at Sinai and the nation’s continual pattern of disobedience to this covenant’s commandments. The New Testament mostly concerns the New Covenant established by Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. To New Testament believers who wished to relate to God on the basis of the Old Covenant, Paul wrote, “Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?” (Galatians 4:21, NKJV). Finally, there is the context of the entire Bible. If we begin reading with Genesis 1:1 and read all the way to Revelation 22:21, we notice the development of a grand context that describes Creation, the encroachment of sin upon creation, the promise of redemption, and the fulfillment of that promise by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus alluded to this context when He told His disciples, “[A]ll things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning me” (Luke 24:44, NKJV). And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. . . . Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high (Luke 24:45-49, NKJV). We can read the Scriptures safely only with this grand context in view. If we interpret any word, sentence, section, book, or either testament as pointing in any direction other than to Jesus Christ and His redeeming work, we misinterpret the text. This is a dangerous thing. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15, NKJV). The Scriptures are “rightly divided,” or accurately understood, only when they are read in their context. Daniel L. Segraves, PhD, is a professor of biblical studies at Urshan Graduate School of Theology. For over thirty years, he has taught in schools endorsed by the UPCI. He has also written more than twenty books and contributed the study notes to seven biblical books in the Apostolic Study Bible.


It’s Still Worth The Wait...

Worth the Wait has encouraged generations of young people to adhere to a high standard of sexual purity. In 2014 Word Aflame Press, along with Ken Gurley and Tyler Walea, revised this valuable study for today’s youth. This timely message has been revised in small group format and will include video lessons, student books, and a teacher’s guide. Every pastor, student pastor, and parent will want their young people to participate in the new Worth the Wait.

PentecostalPublishing.com


[PEOPLE OF THE BOOK]

People of the Book Using the Book H. EVERETT GOSSARD

ver wondered about the Ethiopian eunuch’s scroll? (Acts 8:26-40.) I mean, did he pick up a copy at the local synagogue? Was there a gift shop outside the synagogue in Alexandria or Jerusalem? In addition to his job as CFO for the whole of the Ethiopian kingdom, perhaps he moonlighted as a scribe for a local synagogue and was simply doing a little proofreading of his copy as he chanted the beautiful words from Isaiah 53. Whatever the case, he was reading Scripture when Philip came alongside his chariot. Little did he realize he was about to become part of a story that will live forever. The account of the Ethiopian eunuch’s reading Scripture is one of a small number that depicts somebody in the Bible actually reading from the holy Scriptures. One particular detail from this passage sticks out above the rest: Philip expounded unto the eunuch all of the things about Jesus based on the verses the eunuch had just been reading. This is somewhat reminiscent of the end of the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus “expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). In both cases, there was a preacher who was needed to elaborate on the text. Another passage that depicts people in the Bible reading Scripture is Nehemiah 8:5-8. Again, it isn’t just the reading of the words that is important, but rather in the impartation of some greater understanding. Not only did they “read in the book in the law of God,” but they also “gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8). The Word of God is powerful, sharper than any twoedged sword, and yet it needs someone to explain it? How 36

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

can this be? Is it not plain enough that anyone with any sense can make sense of it? Even Jesus was intentionally complex at times, saying, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand” (Luke 8:10). The gospel is easy to teach, easy to learn, and yet there are complexities contained within Holy Writ that provide a challenge to earnest seekers who wish to explore the hidden things of God (Deuteronomy 29:29). In other instances, we come across passages where certain blocks of text seem to be duplicated. Almost the entirety of Psalm 18 is found in II Samuel 22. While we can’t be certain which of the two passages was written first, it seems likely that one of these existed first and the other came after. Long before modern conventions against plagiarism were in force, this type of “direct borrowing” was common in ancient times. The so-called synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, represent another example where numerous passages tell the story in similar or identical words. Writers of the Word weren’t always exclusively hearing something new from God, but rather, sometimes they wrote based on something another person had written. That is not to say that any of these writings were not inspired. On the contrary! Absolutely one hundred percent of the Word of God is divinely inspired. But when we hold the Word of God in our hands, it is living proof that the inspiration of God could and did take a multiplicity of forms and methods at the time of its production. A final type of Scripture within Scripture can be found in the hundreds of examples of New Testament quotations


from the Old Testament. To cite but one example, Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, quotes from at least three passages directly: Joel 2:28-32, Psalm 16:8-11, and Psalm 110:1. In this case, along with numerous other examples, it is clear that the New Testament writers and key personages throughout the New Testament had an intimate knowledge of the Word of God. Their knowledge was a hands-on, internalized, Word-of-Godhidden-in-their-hearts kind of knowledge. In our day, with all of the distractions of the world, a different gadget or piece of technology for every occasion— Blackberry, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Google Glass, iWatch—it feels as though fewer people of the Book have the knowledge of Scripture that the preachers and prophets of old did. We have so many more resources at our disposal and our access to them is at our fingertips 24/7/365. The total number of manuscripts available to the eunuch over the course of his lifetime would have taken a lifetime to gather and assemble. For the eunuch to be able to access more than one or two scrolls at a time would have been a challenging undertaking. Today we

have access to many times over the number of scrolls the eunuch might have had. And all that on a thumb drive in our pocket. And yet there are two things that have not changed: (1) Our need for the Word of God and (2) Our need for evangelists like Philip, leaders like Ezra, and apostles like Peter. We need men and women of God who can pick up a scroll or a thumb drive, commit themselves to careful study of the Word of God, all the while remaining in touch with contemporary culture. At the same moment, we need to be ready to hear from God at a moment’s notice and join ourselves to a chariot where some lonely and hungry soul is struggling to understand what they’re reading. “How shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Romans 10:14-15). H. Everett Gossard is the book editor for the Division of Publications of the United Pentecostal Church International.

MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

37


[ P E N T E CO S TA L L I F E ]

X-Rated:

For Adults Only PA M E L A S M OA K

he tropical sun beamed down on my unprotected head; the thick dust of the road coated my sandals and sifted between my toes. Little hands, brown, dusty, and dirty with jagged fingernails waved in my face, pulled at my arms, tugged on my clothes, and snatched at the papers I held in my hands. I was under siege! It was the first day of the AYC team’s visit to Tanzania. It had been scheduled as a light ministry day. Divided into three groups, the team planned to blanket the densely populated area with Swahili tracts asking “Can a man be born again?” and explaining the “keys to the Kingdom.” Three young ladies and I had stayed at the church to pray. I walked up the dirt road outside the church gate to pass out tracts. The first few minutes passed without problems, then suddenly the morning school session ended and the paths flooded with hordes of pink-and-green uniformed school children. They swarmed me like ants over a morsel of sticky candy, smothering me, clawing, chattering, grasping. Overwhelmed, claustrophobic, and just a touch fearful, I spun and twisted through the mob, scrambling toward the church gate. My feet slipped on the steep incline of the drive, almost toppling me backward into the yelling mass of children. Just before I fell back, my hand clutched the metal of the gate and I pulled myself upright and beyond the safety of the metal grill. Standing on one side of the closed gate I frantically latched it. Waving the tracts at the startled and now silent mass, I shouted in Swahili, “This is for adults only! It is NOT for you kids!” 38

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

Prolonged silence. A silence broken only by the condemning words in my heart, “Who says it is not for them?” Dear God! What had I done? What had I said? Yes, these children needed to know that a person can be born again of the water and the Spirit. Yes, these children needed to know what the keys to the Kingdom were and how to use them. Jesus’ words condemned me: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not” (Mark 10:14). Instructing them to wait right there, I raced into the church, grabbed two handfuls of tracts, walked out into the street, and made them form two lines. The lines snaked down the street and back as each child passed by to receive his own tract and a personal invitation to come later in the week for the children’s crusades. As they ran and skipped down the street in both directions and disappeared into the trashy alleyways, I prayed that the seeds they were carrying in their hands would sprout in hundreds of hearts, children and adults. For adults only? No way! Not for children? Of course it is! Beyond the knowledge, scope, and understanding of children? Certainly not! Never—according to Jesus! The gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT X-Rated: For Adults Only! Pamela Smoak and her husband, Richard, are twenty-eight-year veteran missionaries to the East African countries of Tanzania and Burundi. Her passions are Bible school training and literature translation into Swahili.


MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

39


[ P E N T E CO S TA L L I F E ]

How Do You Tell a

Hungry Soul

She Cannot Have a Bible? E VA N G E L I N E R O D E N B U S H

t was an experience I will never forget! We were in Bulgaria. We handed out Bibles as fast as we could for hours without a break, and I never even felt tired. I only wished we had had more time and more Bibles to give. How do you reach a former communist nation with the gospel now that those doors are open? Perhaps through the children? A children’s crusade was planned. It was the burden and vision of Thetus Tenney to plant the seed of God’s Word into the fertile soil of the Bulgarian children’s hearts. She had the ability, contacts with the Bulgarian government at that time, and strong faith in the Lord. Added to this was over one year of dedicated hard work to plan the meeting and raise the needed funds, including money for ten thousand Bibles in the Bulgarian language. A Bible for every child who came to the crusade was the plan. It was advertised everywhere: “Every child who comes will receive a Bible.” A large truck arrived with ten thousand Bibles ready for distribution. Everyone was excited. I was just happy to be there along with several other missionaries from Europe/Middle East Region and other helpers who had come with Thetus Tenney to be a part of this great endeavor. The day finally came. Much to our surprise, an estimated twenty thousand people showed up. People were everywhere! My job was to help give Bibles to the children, so I found my place, along with several others, at the back of the truck. We quickly discovered we had a problem. As we started to give out the Bibles, people began to crowd in, reaching out as far as they could with their hands for a Bible. The police had to set up barriers around the back of the truck to control 40

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

the crowd. Children were pushed and shoved toward the truck as those behind tried to get to the points of distribution. We actually helped to rescue some small children by pulling them through the barriers and sending them out under the back of the truck to keep them from being hurt. The joy we felt at the response was exhilarating, but my heart soon began to ache as I realized that hundreds of elderly people had come and stood in line for hours, hoping to get a Bible. “Could I have a Bible, please?” they asked, reaching out with worn, calloused hands. “The Bibles are for the children. Please come back later,” we told them. “For my grandson, please!” a woman begged. What were we to do? The Bibles were to be given to the children first, and we had only ten thousand. This is the way it was advertised. It was agreed that the Bibles must be reserved only for the children. But how do you tell a hungry soul that she cannot have a Bible? Sadly. I cannot describe the grief in my heart. I wanted to cry out, “This is not right! We have so many Bibles in America . . . in every room of the house and even in the car. Bibles are everywhere and we often do not even really appreciate God’s Word as we should. Why should we be so blessed while these people beg for a Bible, not having had one for so many years?” My heat ached as I saw their sadness, disappointment, and even tears as we told them again and again, “I’m sorry, the Bibles are for the children. Maybe if you wait until the end, we will have some left.” Is it possible that the children may not have even understood what they were receiving? Bibles had been banned in Bulgaria and other communist countries for forty to seventy


years. To the children, it was just a book; but the older people no doubt remembered when they had a Bible. Probably their Bibles had been taken from them, and for years they had only the Word that they had hidden in their hearts. To them this was no ordinary book. They knew what the Bible was, and they wanted one desperately. One elderly lady, after being told she could not have a Bible, went over, sat down on a bench, and cried. Sharon Turner took her picture. It is a picture I will never get out of my memory. I cannot forget how helpless I felt. How do you meet the needs of the hungry when you only have a limited amount of food? I am happy to report that someone did slip a Bible to this lady. But there were many others who still did not have one. When we closed the back of the truck that day, many still stood with their hands out. I went to my room and wept. I will never forget those faces. I will never forget how they kissed our hands when we gave them a Bible. I will never forget the look of those who did not get one. And I also remember the words of Jesus: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these . . . ye have done it unto me� (Matthew 25:40). Robert and Evangeline Rodenbush were involved in foreign missions from their appointment to Ghana in 1968 until their retirement in 2010 as the regional director for Europe/Middle East Region. They currently live in Indianapolis and are involved with missions at Indiana Bible College.

Adapted from How Do You Tell a Hungry Soul She Cannot Have a Bible? compiled and edited by Dorsey L. Burk. (available for purchase at pentecostalpublishing.com) MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

41


[ P E N T E CO S TA L L I F E ]

Writing It Down W. C . PA R K E Y

Life is filled with great experiences, But how swiftly time takes flight; Deeds that happened in our childhood Become dim, that once were bright. It’s not only with our family That our ties become unbound; But our spiritual inheritance Often pales and comes unwound. Great revivals and camp meetings, Sermons heard and lessons taught, That are hot when we receive them May cool off and come to naught! Spoken words and events we treasure Are worth keeping, and deserve To be noted and remembered, To be written and preserved. If it’s only for the future, Write the family records down As far back as you can find them And show where they can be found. For your children and grandchildren, And for others after while Keep a journal, write some stories, Then your findings all compile. Please record your spiritual heritage; Tell the things that you remember; Pen some personal testimonies 42

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

For yourself and for your members. Write of triumphs and of failures, There’ll be those who identify. They’ll respond with their emotions, Some will laugh and some will cry. Every church still has a history. It is sad, but, oh, so true, Sometimes no one keeps a record Of what they say and what they do! Lives of writers all remind us That we all are just alike. Though we go through disappointments, God will help us come out right. So we need some preachers – writers Who can pen us something good; Articles for publication, Books, sound doctrine, as they would! There’s a world of writers out there If they’ll only fill the need. You may be the one God uses, So start writing, with Godspeed! The Late W.C. Parkey was preacher, pastor, teacher, writer, Bible college president, song writer, and poet. He has joined those heroes of Hebrews 11: “He being dead yet speaketh.”


MULTICULTURAL MINISTRIES BY ARTHUR HODGES III

The Case for a Multicultural Church he twenty-first century affords North America the greatest opportunity in history to fulfill the Great Commission by reaching the whole world with Acts 2:38. One of the most fruitful fields is Southern California District’s 26 million population, which includes many of the largest ethnic groups outside their mother country. We no longer have to cross the sea to reach every kindred, tongue, people, and nation; we now only have to cross the street. Further, with the advent of the Internet, we may only need to cross the room! The original church Jesus birthed on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 was conceived in multilingual multiculturalism. Never since the scattering of language groups at the Tower of Babel has there been such a reuniting of every nation, kindred, and tongue as there was and is through the Pentecostal experience. The dictionary defines multiculturalism as “the preservation of different cultures or cultural identities within a unified society.” Our Oneness Apostolic heritage, both ancient and modern, is filled with multiculturalism. The flames of Pentecost that spread around the world in the first century were reignited at Azusa Street. On the front page of the Los Angeles Daily News the morning of April 18, 1906, was an article about a “Weird Babel of Tongues” heard from a “New Sect of Fanatics Breaking Loose” at a former livery stable at 312 Azusa Street, Los Angeles. The reporter described a mixed congregation of blacks and whites. The merging of black and white, men and women, and ultimately the participation from all of the ethnic minorities of Los Angeles was a phenomenon that was almost unheard of in 1906. The leader was William Joseph Seymour, a poor, black, one-eyed prayer warrior

of a preacher from Louisiana, the son of a former slave, with a disfigured face. This description is reminiscent of the perception toward the early church leaders as being “unlearned and ignorant” (Acts 4:13). Yet they are later described in Acts 17:6 as “these that have turned the world upside down.” Similarly, the movement birthed at Azusa Street spread swiftly around the globe. Seymour had desired to attend the Bible school sessions taught by Charles Fox Parham (from Bethel Bible School in Topeka, Kansas) at Bryan Hall in Houston, Texas. He was convinced the teachings about Holy Spirit baptism were biblically correct, and he preached the message with fervor. Both the Azusa Street Mission revival, and seven years later the Arroyo Seco Worldwide Pentecostal Camp Meeting where baptism in Jesus’ name was preached, were early models of racial integration by the Apostolic church well before societal acceptance of the same. When society is at a racial divide, it’s a golden opportunity for the church to model unity, oneness, and peace that comes only from knowing the Prince of Peace. The church should reflect Heaven to the world. Heaven portrays a bride consisting of every race, language, and culture. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou . . . hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9). Our true identity in Christ is an identity formed on much more than the color of our skin. One Pentecostal pioneer of the early twentieth century said, “The color line was washed away in the blood of Jesus.” Racism is not a skin problem; it’s a sin problem. Each local church should appreciate, embrace, and celebrate every nationality. True disciples of Christ will abandon any ungodly aspect of their culture, but they should share all other aspects of their culture

with their family in God. This enriches the church. God is no respecter of persons, and so neither should we be. The United Pentecostal Church International is made up of every nationality. Pentecost resulted when they came together. In fact, in the Book of Acts, there was no concept of an “independent” Pentecostal. Rather, it was all about coming together in unity and not dividing the body. They were to be separate from the world but together with one another, having all things in common. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10). The multicultural church is a wonderful reflection of God’s creation, love, and purpose that no soul be left behind (II Peter 3:9). The benefits of a multicultural church are numerous. Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). A world divided needs a church united. The pursuit of multiculturalism in the church is not just a nice idea—it’s an absolute necessity!

Arthur Hodges lll is the Southern California District superintendent and senior pastor of South Bay UPC in Chula Vista, California. He and his wife, Rosa, have three children (Amber, Arthur IV, and Alysha) and three grandchildren (Avery, Aiden, and Austin).

MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

43


[ P E N T E CO S TA L L I F E ]

My Life’s Breaking Point = God’s Purpose-Making Point ERCEL H. CLARK JR.

he same dream came night after night; each time it felt more real. I saw myself lying lifeless on an operation table surrounded by doctors. I shared this dream with my wife, but excused it as stress and overloaded schedule. However, after reoccurring headaches and various other problems, I sensed something was wrong and searched for answers. A doctor’s appointment resulted in an MRI and then the difficult wait for results began. The call came and the feeling of fear crept in as the doctor’s serious tone demanded I come immediately. My wife and I arrived at the doctor’s office, a cloud of overwhelming sickness surrounding us. We were immediately whisked into a room and greeted by the somber face of the doctor and the words, “Guys, it’s not good.” Cold sweat drenched my body. She went on to explain a Schwannoma brain tumor was found on the fifth cranial ganglion nerve of the Meckel’s cave. Simply put, it is a rare tumor located in one of the most difficult parts of the body to access. It could or could not be cancerous. There have only been seven noted cases of such a tumor since 2008. Trying to keep our composure, we gathered as much information as possible. Yet at this moment, the clay began to crack and the vessel weakened. We were informed there was no “magic pill” to dissipate the tumor, and we were referred to a specialist to review possible treatment options. We left the doctor’s office crushed emotionally and spiritually. We had recently celebrated nine years of marriage, and the birth of our second son, Kolt, who was only two weeks old. We worried about the well-being of our children. How would our three-year old, Kain, understand this news? Before 44

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015

I completely lost my head our pastor, Anthony Mangun, called and said, “We do not receive that news. You are too valuable. You have divine favor and you are anointed of God.” In his declarative prayer he cursed the sickness back into the sea, reminding me that God had everything under control and to stand on His Word. All we could do now was take this journey one slow, agonizing step at a time. The day arrived to meet Anil Nanda, MD, chief of Neurosurgery of University Neurosurgery at LSU in Shreveport, Louisiana. We were greeted with an overwhelming amount of information about the tumor. As he explained the various scenarios of craniotomy side effects, I felt sickened. The possible loss of sight and hearing. Would I see my children grow up or hear their sweet voices speak to me? Will I forget what they sound like now? The potential to lose large portions of memory and speech. Would I ever preach or play the drums again? What parts of my life would be forever lost? Knowing we were Christians, Dr. Nanda’s final instructions that day were to “go home, pray, and see what God wants to do with you.” We were at our breaking point. Yet I began to proclaim the devil couldn’t take anything from me that he did not give. The only thing I knew to do was to continue to praise and worship God through the storm. I vowed not to quit ministering the gospel or reaching for the lost. Some dear friends and pastors, Michael and Nora Day, invited us to minister for their church so we went and delivered the Word on Sunday morning. That night, Charles Robinette was scheduled to minister during a healing service at our home church, Pentecostals of Alexandria, so we decided to go home and be in that meeting. After a wonderful service the altar was open to anyone who needed


I am a witness to the miracle that is Ercel Clark, Jr. The fact that he is alive and continues to preach the gospel is a miracle. He could have not survived the surgery. He could have suffered debilitating effects from the surgery. He could have lost his sight—or his hearing— or his ability to speak—or walk. He could have lost his rhythm. Instead he drums—he walks—he talks—he sees—he hears—he preaches. I am a witness to this miracle! In His Name, Anthony Mangun Senior Pastor The Pentecostals of Alexandria

healing. By faith, I made my way down and the evangelist laid hands on me. He then gave an open invitation for anyone who felt that they were touched by a supernatural power of God, to come and declare what God had done. Immediately, I felt an urgency in my spirit that I should take the microphone. In all honesty, I did not feel God had supernaturally touched me, but I was prompted to declare my healing. My declaration was, “According to the Word of God, the doctors are wrong because the Bible says ‘By His stripes I am healed!” Before I could continue, the power of God hit me as if a cyclone had picked me up and carried me across the platform. Immediately following this healing declaration service Vani Marshall Xavier explained that she saw a holy glow resting above my head as I danced and proclaimed my healing. She said God showed her a shaft piercing from my shoulders through the top of my head and a bolt of lightning shot through it and the Lord said to her, “Tell him, be made whole!” I received the word, and stormed forward with new faith and

encouragement knowing that God’s Word never returns void. My spirits were high. Then another scan revealed the tumor was not gone. In fact, it had grown. We felt knocked down again and our faith was shaken to the core. The days seemed to drag on endlessly. The morning before surgery, Pastor Mangun met with us to conduct a private communion service and pray over us again. Pastor once again encouraged us and declared this was part of our testimony. Doomsday arrived. I was raced through each step to prepare for surgery. I weighed the myriad of possibilities in my mind, trying to remain calm for my wife, mother, and sister who were present with me. I took a quick minute to reflect on my life before I went under the blade, and the thought that to live is Christ and to die is gain. The ICU nursing staff and doctors began to prepare my family that I would not remember who they were, and probably would not be able to walk or talk for a while. Physical and speech therapy would be needed to help me re-learn lost MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

45


46

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015


abilities. But God had other plans! Awaking from the fog of anesthesia, I began singing “Every praise is to our God! Every word of worship in one accord!” Tapping my legs as if I was playing the drums, I praised and proclaimed the devil did not take anything from me! After some time, Dr. Nanda came to tell me he was able to remove 98 percent of the tumor but 2 percent remained because it had attached itself to my artery. My face must have shown my concern, because my wife walked over to me and said, “Don’t worry. It’s gone. It is all gone.” I was so happy to be alive but I did not want to hear any of this thing remained. While in ICU, I had what I thought was a sinus attack and began to cough and spit, producing two chunks of a gray matter that looked like half-cooked burger meat. My wife and father-in-law called a nurse in to examine it. With alarm on their faces, they consoled us and immediately ordered an MRI and CT scan to rule out any complications from the surgery. The result astounded the entire neurosurgery medical staff on duty that night. The 2 percent that could not be removed due to its attachment to an artery was now nowhere to be found. The biopsy also came back benign. I should have had lasting losses from this. There should have been many complications in recovery. I was in and out of surgery, ICU, a hospital stay, and recovery in supernatural timing. My first service back at Pentecostals of Alexandria was like Heaven on earth. Vesta Mangun, and several others I encountered gave me repeated confirmations from the Lord that I have a job to do, and my testimony must be told all over the world. I was certain God was in control and was transforming my ministry into one of miracles, signs, and wonders. At my follow-up appointment with Dr. Nanda I was greeted by several of his office staff who wanted to meet the miracle man! They said the news of my experience had spread all over the hospitals and they had to meet me because I had defied all odds and it was a miracle. Dr. Nanda walked in and said, “There is my miracle man!” He told me God had supernaturally healed me and removed the rest of the tumor. He also said, “Brother Clark, apparently God has favored you, because there is no sign in your brain where I have touched you. It was God. He has given you a job to spread his Word and declare what God can do all over the world.” The doctor had no idea he was confirming the prophecies I had already received. On the way home from this visit, I received three calls from pastors I have never met, who had already received

word of this miracle that God had performed and scheduled me to share my testimony and minister His word as soon as I felt my body could handle it. In my fifth week of recovery I traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana, to minister at Kings Temple pastored by Damon Magee. A first-time visitor received the Holy Ghost. There was a young lady who had scoliosis. Her spine curved and she was always in pain. She came up for prayer. As we prayed for her, she felt three pops on the left and right side of her back and her spine was made straight! Immediately after service the bishop and Louisiana District Board member, Michael Hudspeth, came up and told me God allowed me to go through the surgery so He could use me greatly and give me an anointing like never before to carry to all churches. It is overwhelming how many times God has given a similar direct word, but because of it I have been spreading the word wherever I can, even in the most unlikely places. I was in Marshall’s department store waiting on my wife and began to tell my story to a store clerk and a couple of other ladies joined the conversation. As I was finishing, a lady came around the corner and said, “I am sorry to interrupt, but I have been listening from the other aisle and something told me to go meet this man and ask him to pray for me. He has favor with God.” The other ladies said, “We want you to pray for us as well.” So I gathered them in an old-fashioned Pentecostal prayer circle and I prayed for them. I really prayed—right there in Marshall’s—no pulpit, no altar call, just our small circle, our faith, and every other Marshall customer. I told God, “You open the door and I will walk through and obey your voice. I am your hands and feet for what you have done in my life.” I feel this miracle was simply a breaking for a making. God broke the vessel so that He could pour into it what he wants us to pour out on others, and He chose healing for us. I owe all that I am to God, to declare the Word, and what He has done for us, through every open door, wherever He shall lead. By His stripes I am healed, in Jesus’ name! Ercel H. Clark Jr. is a licensed minister with the UPCI and makes the Pentecostals of Alexandria his home church. He is an evangelist and can be reached at eclark@declaretheword.org MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

47


usic inister

M

APPRECIATION DAY

APRIL 26, 2015

IN RECOGNITION OF YOUR VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION AND DEDICATION TO THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT OF YOUR LOCAL CHURCH AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Downloadable Resources @ www.myhoperadio.com

48

H

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

|

MARCH 2015


SUNDAY SCHOOL BY DOUG ELLINGSWORTH

Children, the Agent of Change hose who would change their world must be fired by an unquenchable passion. Talent, desire, hope—none of these are sufficient to tether an individual to the task when the new-car smell has worn off of his burden and all of his friends have moved on to more relevant attractions. Fervent prayer is the only fuel that feeds that passion, so those who would change the world must be addicted to the time consuming work of prayer. Those who would change the world will not waste their time fighting other people. Change is driven by passion and vision, and time spent arguing with those who have neither is precious time lost. Those who stop working on their vision to fight with their enemies become insignificant. These kind live and die with their tombstones being the only noticeable change to the landscape. During World War Two, Winston Churchill did not call the British to action by whining about how awful and mean Adolph Hitler was, but he rallied them by pointing to the legacy that rested in their own souls, and telling them that their destiny was to be the men and women that future generations would look back on and say, “This was our finest hour.” Ronald Reagan was not elected president because he pointed out other people’s or parties’ flaws, but he was chosen because he painted for Americans a vision of our nation as a city, high on a hill, shining the light of freedom and liberty for people everywhere, a beacon of hope for all nations. Jesus Christ did not take a handful of religious misfits and turn them into a spiritual force that turned their world upside down by pointing out how irrelevant and behind the times the Sanhedrin was, but He set this little group on fire by sharing His vision and telling them “You shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost shall come upon you,

and you will be witnesses of me throughout the whole world.” Those who would change the world must dream big. Vision becomes contagious only when it lifts a person’s head up to where their eyes can see the mammoth magnificence of God. Daniel Burnham, the builder of America’s first skyscrapers, said, “Dream no small dreams, for they have not the power to stir men’s blood.”

Those who would change the world must dream big. Vision becomes contagious only when it lifts a person’s head up to where their eyes can see the mammoth magnificence of God. Made in 1510, the Hunt-Lenox Globe is barely five inches in diameter, and is an historical treasure owned by the New York Public Library. Showing North American to be made up of scores of islands, the globe reflects what little men really knew about our world back then. If you look carefully, you will see on the southeast coast of Asia a picture of a dragon and the words Hic sunt dracones. “Here be dragons” is what the legends said. When the explorers reached the end of their knowledge, they labeled the unknown as the dwelling place of the dragons. Those who would change the world must be willing to fight the dragons that lurk in our future—a future where family is redefined, sinners become a protected class, government intrusion grows, and fear reigns in the hearts of men and women. Those who would change the world

must understand that there is no course in which you can enroll, no degree you can earn, and no board certification that can declare you qualified to be a world changer. But when the need you see becomes a burden you cannot shake, and the thought of the world remaining as it is troubles your mind night and day, you are standing where world change begins. It is a calling that will not die. Nehemiah was trained in the softhanded duties of a refined gentleman who discretely sat and guarded the king’s table. He was not an engineer or stone mason or builder. Neither was he trained as a military planner, motivational speaker, or hard-nosed negotiator. Yet, when his vision and passion smothered his own fears and insecurities, he became all of those. He stood alone. He stood firm. And he watched his world change. Those who would change the world must realize that a crucial agent for lasting and enduring change is our children. Children are vulnerable to both empowerment and exploitation. Those who would bring lasting change to their world must empower their children with the eternal values of faith and virtue—not the currently popular philosophies proclaimed by self-serving men. Enduring change comes by empowering the children to find life through the One who made them and redeemed them. If we teach our children to know Him in the power of His resurrection and in the fellowship of His suffering, then our neighbors will say of us, “They have turned the world upside down.” And our Lord will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Doug Ellingsworth pastors the Finley United Pentecostal Church in Finley, Tennessee, and serves as the Sunday School director of the Tennessee District. MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

49


20 15 Fa ll min g

5.87”

DISCIPLESHIP

Co

THE

PROJECT

5.87”

1.24”

How are you strategically using the 52 hours a year you have to shape your church’s spiritual growth from toddlers to elders? The average church has 52 hours in a year committed to the structured process of spiritual formation (based on one hour of teaching per week). What are we doing strategically to ensure the long-term spiritual formation of every age demographic?

5.6”

• A whole-church curriculum aimed at developing lifelong disciples

• Materials and activities to intentionally integrate the home and the church

• Topically aligned across every age group • Print and digital delivery including video resources 5.6”

Kids’ music video for each monthly series

Trailer video introducing each monthly series

Song reinforcing each series’ theme

Full complement of leader and student resources

(Includes versions with and without vocals)

(Available in print and digital delivery)

www.thediscipleshipproject.com

1.24”


THE LAST WORD BY LEE ANN ALEXANDER

A

The Problem with Programs

mong the many things I learned while teaching for five years at a Bible college was the limitations of programs. At one point we began receiving feedback that students wanted more time with professors in addition to standard class time. We developed a clever system for organizing the student body into smalls groups and hosting lunch with professors to facilitate casual dialogue and opportunities for questions beyond the classroom. Voila! A problem had arisen, we had created an efficient program to meet the need, and thus the problem was solved. Or so we thought. To our surprise, we actually got more negative feedback than before we started the program. The efficient programming contradicted the organic experience the students wanted and only further accentuated the need. I vividly remember the frustration that came with realizing the efforts we put into a program to fix the problem only brought to light more problems. It felt like that moment when you realize, after days of faithfully taking an antibiotic, you have relapsed into sickness now worse than before. Why aren’t programs foolproof? Maybe it is a matter of expectations. Maybe I am painting with too broad of a brush when in fact there are many programs in the church working effectively. Yet I’ve witnessed some areas that can’t be met with programming, and discipleship is one of them. The great thing about programs is that they put a set group of people to work with clear responsibilities and specific start and stop times to simplify the necessary tasks of a project and maximize productivity. The bad thing about programs is that they put a set group of people to work with clear responsibilities and specific start and stop times to simplify the necessary tasks of a project and maximize productivity. What should be a great way to troubleshoot a need

fails to meet the need by design. How could programming discipleship be problematic? The answer is connected to a realization that discipleship is bigger than a temporary orientation experience for new believers. (See “The Last Word” column in last month’s issue.) 1. Discipleship is not the responsibility of a person or a set group of people. If we understand discipleship to be the process of ongoing spiritual formation, then we must recognize discipleship cannot be delegated to one person or even several dedicated someones to check off a list. Instead, discipleship must be the lifelong commitment of the entire church community—all of us together united in covenant to continually pursue spiritual growth. 2. Discipleship does not have a start and stop date because it is not something from which we graduate. Of course it is appealing to think of our walk with God in nicely packaged blocks we could stack up in order and check off a list, but relationships don’t work that way. In the same way a spouse does not graduate from specific commitments after a certain number of months of marriage, we do not “test out” of spiritual formation. Each of us will be still undergoing the lifelong process of discipleship until we are forever in Heaven with Jesus. 3. Discipleship does not have a checklist of responsibilities or a punch list of tasks. If we brought to our relationship with God the same mentality we take to education, we may be tempted to think we could break it into assessable units where we learn knowledge, are tested to prove our comprehension, and then move on. Not only is discipleship not a temporary task from which we graduate, it incorporates a much bigger scope than our cognitive

base of knowledge. Scripture reminds us that becoming disciples involves more than hearing the Word (James 1:21-22) or knowing; the process involves the metaphors of pressing (Philippians 3:14), seeking (Colossians 3:1), and transforming (Romans 12:2). It’s difficult to synthesize all of those things in a how-to list of seven steps. Instead we have God’s Word to reveal to us His plan for our lives as His Spirit shapes us, and because God loves us individually and sees us each as a unique person, He does custom work with no templates or patterns. Likewise, no program of the church can formulate a pattern for quick-fix discipleship. Discipleship is not solved by programs. While it might be convenient to appoint a person to teach a class with a clear start and stop and breathe a sigh of relief as we check discipleship off the to-do list, the journey is so much more elaborate. In our case of the Bible college program’s breakdown, our solution was to turn our focus from organizing programs to meet student needs to being the kind of people who could be approached organically and who looked for opportunities to meet student needs. Similarly, our discipleship efforts to promote spiritual growth in the life of everyone in the church will not be solved by kicking off a new six-week program but by becoming people wholeheartedly and thoroughly committed to the lifelong journey of growing in God across the entire church family.

Lee Ann Alexander is an associate editor of the United Pentecostal Church International.

MARCH 2015

|

P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D

51



Pentecostal Herald March 2015