Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:14
Vol. 10, No. 3 Straight and Narrow March 2001
Indianapolis Baptist Temple Seized by U.S. Federal Marshals
Seizes Property from
Church that Refused to be Controlled
On February 16 the Indianapolis Baptist Temple was seized by United States Federal Marshals. U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker in Indianapolis ordered the confiscation of the Temple claiming the church owed $6 million in taxes, penalties and interest for its failure to withhold employee income taxes, Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes. The judge had even authorized marshals to seize the property by force if necessary.
Judge Barker ordered that if the church did not comply with the court’s demands to pay certain taxes in question, then the church must vacate its property or it could be seized on November 14, 2000. On that date, the marshals seized the church parsonage a few miles from the church, but did not attempt to enter the church. This was due to the public support that the church was receiving not only from hundreds of its members, but also from hundreds of members of different militias from across the United States. The militia members were there to protest what many considered to be a grievous violation of constitutional rights.
As the weeks passed after November 14, the number of people who continued to hold a prayer vigil at the church became smaller. When the seizure took place there were fewer than a dozen people in the church holding a prayer service. Those who were at the building were removed peaceably by the marshals. According to CNN.com, dozens of marshals were employed in the seizure and there was even a helicopter hovering overhead.
According to Richard Hammar, an attorney for the Springfield, Missouri-based Assemblies of God Church and an expert on churches and tax law, this is the first time the federal government has ever seized a church for failing to pay taxes. “To have the IRS come in and seize the church’s property, that is an extraordinary event unparalleled in American history.” (cnn.com/2001/LAW/02/13/church.irs.ap/index.html)
to the Extraordinary Events
Prior to 1986, the Indianapolis Baptist Temple operated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) religious organization under Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code. Around 1984 the church members and the church leadership came to the understanding that such a partnership with the government was wrong, and, in fact, a betrayal of the gospel. When a church incorporates as a 501(c)(3) religious organization, it is, in effect, asking the government for permission to exist and function. The Bible teaches that this privilege has been granted to us by Christ, not the government. The churches that apply and are accepted as 501(c)(3) become registered churches.
What is the supposed advantage for churches to register and submit to the government requirements that come with it? Most comply because they desire their supporters to be able to receive receipts, for their gifts to the churches, that can be deducted from their federal income taxes. According to the tax code, to be able to give such a receipt, an organization must be 501(c)(3). (However, there is a little-known line in the tax code stating that churches, synagogues, and mosques are exempt from needing such status.) The reason the churches wish to be able to give out such receipts is plain. Money! More people are willing to give, and give more, if they can get a tax break for it.
A further complication develops when a 501(c)(3) church hires employees. The government requires that the employer withhold federal income and social security taxes (as well as paying one-half of the FICA tax) and forward that money to the IRS thus making the church function as an agent of the government.
Coming to this understanding of these and other issues, the Indianapolis Baptist Temple decided to dissolve the corporation that had been formed to become a 501(c)(3) church. After the corporation had dissolved, the members began what they described as a “New Testament Church” without any incorporation or government permission. To our knowledge, the Indianapolis Baptist Temple is one of the largest, if not the largest, non-501(c)(3) church in The United States.
Prior to this, while operating as a 501(c)(3) church, the Indianapolis Baptist Temple had paid taxes and reported to the government as required by the tax codes. After forming a “New Testament Church,” they adopted a Biblical approach. On their web site they state:
A true New Testament Church is not an employer nor does it have employees. Neither is it a taxpayer. Those who serve the church are ministers exercising their gifts by the Holy Spirit. They receive love gifts, not wages. (http://www.indianapolisbaptisttemple.com/realfacts.html)
After becoming a “New Testament Church,” the “ministers” of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple continued to pay their own personal income taxes as well as the full amount of their social security (FICA) taxes. However, the United States government was not content to allow this to continue. Even though the taxes were being paid, the government wanted the church to collect these taxes as well as pay one-half of the FICA taxes for the “ministers.” This the Indianapolis Baptist Temple could not conscientiously do. These are facts that most media sources have failed to mention. When the government says that the Indianapolis Baptist Temple owed taxes, what it means is that the taxes were not paid through the “proper channels” and they now not only want the 3.6 million dollars that they claim were to be paid, by and or through the church, but they also want 2.4 million dollars more in penalties and interest, making a total liability of 6 million dollars.
The membership and leadership of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple acknowledge that “Caesar” has a right to receive due taxes. However, they believe that that right is only upon the individual and not upon the church as a body. All of Christ’s counsel and Paul’s counsel on this subject are directed toward the individual.
Yet, this is not a tax case, but a First Amendment religious liberty issue! It is an issue of control and compliance. The government case demonstrates the Clinton/Reno Justice Department’s philosophy well: “Rule or Ruin”! Some were hopeful that the new Bush administration would be more favorable to the matter. However, that was a vain and sad expectation.
“The purge has started,” said the Rev. Greg J. Dixon, the church’s pastor emeritus, as the marshals wheeled him out.
“We had a promise from the Bush administration. We had every reason to believe there was a moratorium. ... They were going to dismiss the case. We had a deal, and they welshed on the deal,” Dixon said. (cnn.com/2001/LAW/02/13/church.irs.ap/index.html)
Some have questioned if the recent air strikes against Iraq ordered by President Bush were smokescreens to help take interest and media attention away from the Indianapolis Baptist Temple seizure.
Judge Barker’s ruling only applies in the Seventh Circuit. However, other United States Circuit Courts will no doubt have the issue brought before them. Once having tasted blood in the Indianapolis Baptist Temple case, the government is unlikely to stop. Before the seizure, the Indianapolis Baptist Temple had appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court. However, they denied the Indianapolis Baptist Temple petition for certiorari, leaving the Seventh Circuit decision in place. Interestingly, while the high court had refused to hear the Indianapolis Baptist Temple’s case, it accepted a case where the issue involved whether professional golfers could be restricted from using a golf cart. To the United States Supreme Court, the issue of religious liberty was less important than professional golf! Not surprising for a court that does not put value on a life that lives in the womb.
This is perhaps the most important case of religious liberty in the United States in decades. This is the first time that any branch of the government has brought suit against a non-501(c)(3) church. All other lawsuits have been against state recognized and approved religious organizations: 501(c)(3) organizations.
One of the marshals stated that the seizure was one of the most difficult things he had ever done. Like Rome of old, they would claim that there was no persecution, they were merely enforcing the law. This brings to mind the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings of the U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft when he stated that his job would be to enforce the law.
The Bible teaches that the second beast of Revelation 13 would arise in the new world at just the time the United States of America was founded. This power would begin speaking like a lamb. It would be based on the principles of a republican government and protestant churches. However, this image would later speak as a dragon commanding the people to form an image to the first beast of Revelation 13 (the Papacy). Surely we are seeing the beginning of developments that inspiration tells us will happen very rapidly. It is beyond the scope of this article to detail these events. Those who wish to have more information on these prophetic events may request, free of any cost or obligation, a booklet entitled, A Time to Choose. This booklet covers the prophecies of Revelation 13 and 14 and clearly demonstrates that the Bible predicts that religious freedom in the United States is soon to end. Just as it was in Communist Russia, and is now in Communist China, churches in the United States will have to be registered and comply with the government to avoid the coming wrath. If you have not read A Time to Choose I want to earnestly encourage you to request a free copy today.
Those who wish to keep updated on the current situation with the Indianapolis Baptist Temple case may visit their web site at: (http:www.indianapolisbaptisttemple.com). Their postal address is Indianapolis Baptist Temple, P. O. Box 11, Indianapolis, IN 46206. Their contact phone number is (317) 787-0830.
For those not knowledgeable or clear regarding Smyrna’s position on the matter of incorporation, we wish to clearly set forth our position. While not agreeing with all of the theology of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple, we do hold some similar concepts concerning church/state relations. Smyrna Gospel Ministries is an outreach ministry of Smyrna Sabbath Chapel. Neither the church, nor the ministry is a registered 501(c)(3) religious organization. We have not incorporated, nor do we intend to do so. The church does return tithes and love offerings to those who function in ministry as the church is able. The materials that we distribute have always been available free. For those who are able and wish to help with our expenses, we have published some of our costs of production so if those receiving materials would like to help, they know what our expenses have been.
We make a conscientious effort to carefully receipt, and be careful stewards of, the funds that that God directs our way. As we noted earlier, the IRS tax code exempts “churches” from needing 501(c)(3) status for its receipts to be used for tax deduction purposes. While we may fall under this exemption, we do not encourage or endorse its use. History teaches us that when government provides favors, the price in the long run is much higher than the value of the favors.
Camp Meeting Announcement
We are currently planning on having a camp meeting from July 17-21. The first meeting of the convocation will be Tuesday evening the 17th, with the meetings closing out the evening of the 21st.
Interest is already running very high and we expect the attendance to significantly increase over last year’s camp meeting.
We are in the process of contacting potential speakers and the prospects are good that we will have an abundance of excellent speakers who will be sharing God’s Word.
If you received an attendance reply card, please fill it out and return it, if you are interested, so we will know best how to plan for the accommodations necessary.
THE POWERS THAT BE
By A. T. Jones
In support of the doctrine that civil government has the right to act in things pertaining to God, the text of Scripture is quoted which says, “The powers that be are ordained of God.” This passage is found in Romans 13:1. The first nine verses of the chapter are devoted to this subject, showing that the powers that be are ordained of God, and enjoining upon Christians, upon every soul in fact, the duty of respectful subjection to civil government. The whole passage reads as follows:—
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid: for he beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject not only for wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For, for this cause pay ye tribute also; for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe no man anything, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet: and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Romans 13:1-9)
It is easy to see that this scripture is but an exposition of the words of Christ, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” (Mark 12:17) In the Saviour’s command to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, there is plainly a recognition of the rightfulness of civil government, and that civil government has claims upon us which we are in duty bound to recognize, and that there are things which duty requires us to render to the civil government. This scripture in Romans 13:1 simply states the same thing in other words: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
Again, the Saviour’s words were called out by a question concerning tribute. They said to him, “Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?” (Matthew 22:17) Romans 13:6 refers to the same thing, saying, “For, for this cause pay ye tribute also; for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.” In answer to the question of the Pharisees about the tribute, Christ said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.” Romans 13:7, taking up the same thought, says. “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” These references make positive that which we have stated, — that this portion of Scripture (Romans13:1-9) is a divine commentary upon the words of Christ in Matthew 22:17-21.
In the previous chapter [of the book, Civil Government and Religion] we have shown by many proofs that civil government has nothing to do with anything that pertains to God. If the argument in that chapter is sound, then Romans 13:1-9, being the Lord’s commentary upon the words which are the basis of that argument, ought to confirm the position there taken. And this it does.
The passage in Romans refers first to civil government, the higher powers, — not the highest power, but the powers that be. Next it speaks of rulers, as bearing the sword and attending upon matters of tribute. Then it commands to render tribute to whom tribute is due, and says, “Owe no man any thing; but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Then he refers to the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth commandments, and says, “If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
There are other commandments of this same law to which Paul refers. Why, then, did he say, “If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”? There are the four commandments of the first table of this same law, — the commandments which say, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me; Thou shalt not make any graven image, or any likeness of any thing; Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Then there is the other commandment in which are briefly comprehended all these, — “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.”
Paul knew full well of these commandments. Why, then, did he say, “If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”? Answer. — Because he was writing concerning the words of the Saviour which relate to our duties to civil government.
Our duties under civil government pertain solely to the government and to our fellow-men, because the powers of civil government pertain solely to men in their relations one to another, and to the government. But the Saviour’s words in the same connection entirely separated that which pertains to God from that which pertains to civil government. The things which pertain to God are not to be rendered to civil government — to the powers that be; therefore Paul, although knowing full well that there were other commandments, said, “If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;” that is, if there be any other commandment which comes into the relation between man and civil government, it is comprehended in this saying, that he shall love his neighbor as himself; thus showing conclusively that the powers that be, though ordained of God, are so ordained simply in things pertaining to the relation of man with his fellow-men, and in those things alone.
Further, as in this divine record of the duties that men owe to the powers that be, there is no reference whatever to the first table of the law, it therefore follows that the powers that be, although ordained of God, have nothing whatever to do with the relations which men bear toward God.
As the ten commandments contain the whole duty of man and as in the scriptural enumeration of the duties that men owe to the powers that be, there is no mention of any of the things contained in the first table of the law, it follows that none of the duties enjoined in the first table of the law of God, do men owe to the powers that be; that is to say, again, that the powers that be, although ordained of God, are not ordained of God in anything pertaining to a single duty enjoined in any one of the first four of the ten commandments. These are duties that men owe to God, and with these the powers that be can of right have nothing to do, because Christ has commanded to render unto God — not to Caesar, nor by Caesar — that which is God’s.
This is confirmed by other scriptures: —
“In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim [Zedekiah], the son of Josiah king of Judah, came this word unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus saith the Lord to me: Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, and send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah, and command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Thus shall ye say unto your masters: I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come, and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him. And it shall come to pass that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the Lord, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.” (Jeremiah 27:1-8)
In this scripture it is clearly shown that the power of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was ordained of God; nor to Nebuchadnezzar alone, but to his son and his son’s son; which is to say that the power of the Babylonian empire, as an imperial power, was ordained of God. Nebuchadnezzar was plainly called by the Lord, “My servant,” and the Lord says, “And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon.” He further says that whatever “nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish.”
Now let us see whether this power was ordained of God in things pertaining to God. In the third chapter of Daniel we have the record that Nebuchadnezzar made a great image of gold, set it up in the plain of Dura, and gathered together the princes, the governors, the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to the dedication of the image; and they stood before the image that had been set up. Then a herald from the king cried aloud: —
“To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up; and whose falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” (Daniel 3:4-6)
In obedience to this command, all the people bowed down and worshiped before the image, except three Jews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. This disobedience was reported to Nebuchadnezzar, who commanded them to be brought before him, when he asked them if they had disobeyed his order intentionally. He himself then repeated his command to them.
These men knew that they had been made subject to the king of Babylon by the Lord himself. It had not only been prophesied by Isaiah in chapter 39, but by Jeremiah. At the final siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the Lord through Jeremiah told the people to submit to the king of Babylon, and that whosoever would do it, it should be well with them; whosoever would not do it, it should be ill with them. Yet these men, knowing all this, made answer to Nebuchadnezzar thus: —
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)
Then these men were cast into the fiery furnace, heated seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated; but suddenly Nebuchadnezzar rose up in haste and astonishment, and said to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered, “True, O king.” But he exclaimed, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:24, 25) The men were called forth; —
“Then Nebuchadnezzar spake and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.” (Daniel 3:28)
Here we have demonstrated the following facts: First, God gave power to the kingdom of Babylon; second, he suffered his people to be subjected to that power; third, he defended his people by a wonderful miracle from a certain exercise of that power. Does God contradict or oppose himself? — Far from it. What, then, does this show? — It shows conclusively that this was an undue exercise of the power which God had given. By this it is demonstrated that the power of the kingdom of Babylon, although ordained of God, was not ordained unto any such purpose as that for which it was exercised; and that though ordained of God, it was not ordained to be authority in things pertaining to God, or in things pertaining to men’s consciences. And it was written for the instruction of future ages, and for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Another instance: We read above that the power of Babylon was given to Nebuchadnezzar, and his son, and his son’s son, and that all nations should serve Babylon until that time, and that then nations and kings should serve themselves of him. Other prophecies show that Babylon was then to be destroyed. Jeremiah 51:28 says that the kings of the Medes, and all his land, with the captains and rulers, should be prepared against Babylon to destroy it. Isaiah 21:2 shows that Persia (Elam) should accompany Media in the destruction of Babylon. Isaiah 45:1-4 names Cyrus as the leader of the forces, more than a hundred years before he was born, and one hundred and seventy-four years before the time. And of Cyrus, the prophet said from the Lord, “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price, nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 45:13) But in the conquest of Babylon, Cyrus was only the leader of the forces. The kingdom and rule were given to Darius the Mede; for said Daniel to Belshazzar, on the night when Babylon fell, “Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” Then the record proceeds: “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom.” Of him we read in Daniel 11:1, the words of the angel Gabriel to the prophet, “I, in the first year of Darius the Mede, even, I stood to confirm and to strengthen him.”
There can be no shadow of doubt, therefore, that the power of Media and Persia was ordained of God. Darius made Daniel prime minister of the empire. But a number of the presidents and princes, envious of the position given to Daniel, attempted to undermine him. After earnest efforts to find occasion against him in matters pertaining to the kingdom, they were forced to confess that there was neither error nor fault anywhere in his conduct. Then said these men, “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” (Daniel 6:5) They therefore assembled together to the king, and told him that all the presidents of the kingdom, and the governors, and the princes, and the captains, had consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a decree that whoever should ask a petition of any god or man, except the king, for thirty days, should be cast into the den of lions. Darius, not suspecting their object, signed the decree. Daniel knew that the decree had been made, and signed by the king. It was hardly possible for him not to know it, being prime minister. Yet notwithstanding his knowledge of the affair, he went into his chamber, and his windows being opened toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before God, as he did aforetime. He did not even close the windows. He paid no attention to the decree that had been made, although it forbade his doing as he did, under the penalty of being thrown to the lions. He well understood that although the power of Media and Persia was ordained of God, it was not ordained to interfere in matters of duty which he owed only to God.
As was to be expected, the men who had secured the passage of the decree, found him praying and making supplications before his God. They went at once to the king and asked him if he had not signed a decree that every man who should ask a petition of any god or man within thirty days, except of the king, should be cast into the den of lions. The king replied that this was true, and that, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, it could not be altered. Then they told him that Daniel did not regard the king, nor the decree that he had signed, but made his petition three times a day. The king realized in a moment that he had been entrapped; but there was no remedy. Those who were pushing the matter, held before him the law, and said, “Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree or statute which the king establisheth may be changed.” Nothing could be done; the decree, being law, must be enforced. Daniel was cast to the lions. In the morning the king came to the den and called to Daniel, and Daniel replied, “O king, live forever; my God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king have I done no hurt.”
Thus again God has shown that although the powers that be are ordained of God, they are not ordained to act in things that pertain to men’s relation toward God. Christ’s words are a positive declaration to that effect, and Romans 13:1-9 is a further exposition of the principle.
Let us look a moment at this question from a common-sense point of view; of course, all we are saying is common-sense, but let us have this in addition: “When societies are formed, each individual surrenders certain rights, and as an equivalent for that surrender, has secured to him the enjoyment of certain others appertaining to his person and property, without the protection of which society cannot exist.”
I have the right to protect my person and property from all invasions. Every other person has the same right; but if this right is to be personally exercised in all cases by every one, then in the present condition of human nature, every man’s hand will be against his neighbor.
That is simple anarchy, and in such a condition of affairs society cannot exist. Now suppose a hundred of us are thrown together in a certain place where there is no established order; each one has all the rights of any other one. But if each one is individually to exercise these rights of self-protection, he has the assurance of only that degree of protection which he alone can furnish to himself, which we have seen is exceedingly slight. Therefore all come together, and each surrenders to the whole body that individual right; and in return for this surrender, he receives the power of all for his protection. He therefore receives the help of the other ninety-nine to protect himself from the invasion of his rights, and he is thus made many hundred times more secure in his rights of person and property than he is without this surrender.
But what condition of things can ever be conceived of among men that would justify any man in surrendering his right to believe? What could he receive as an equivalent? When he has surrendered his right to believe, he has virtually surrendered his right to think. When he surrenders his right to believe, he surrenders everything, and it is impossible for him ever to receive an equivalent; he has surrendered his very soul. Eternal life depends upon believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the man who surrenders his right to believe, surrenders eternal life. Says the Scripture, “With the mind I myself serve the law of God.” A man who surrenders his right to believe, surrenders God. Consequently, no man, no association or organization of men, can ever rightly ask of any man a surrender of his right to believe. Every man has the right, so far as organizations of men are concerned, to believe as he pleases; and that right, so long as he is a Protestant, so long as he is a Christian, yes, so long as he is a man, he never can surrender, and he never will.
Another important question to consider in this connection is, How are the powers that be, ordained of God? Are they directly and miraculously ordained, or are they providentially so? We have seen by the Scripture that the power of Nebuchadnezzar as king of Babylon, was ordained of God. Did God send a prophet or a priest to anoint him king? or did he send a heavenly messenger, as he did to Moses and Gideon?—Neither! Nebuchadnezzar was king because he was the son of his father, who had been king. How did his father become king? — In 625 B. C., Babylonia was but a province of the empire of Assyria; Media was another. Both revolted, and at the same time. The king of Assyria gave Nabopolassar command of a large force, and sent him to Babylonia to quell the revolt, while he himself led other forces into Media, to put down the insurrection there. Nabopolassar did his work so well in Babylonia that the king of Assyria rewarded him with the command of that province, with the title of King of Babylon. Thus we see that Nabopolassar received his power from the king of Assyria. The king of Assyria received his from his father, Asshur-bani-pal; Asshur-bani-pal received his from his father, Esar-haddon; Esar-haddon received his from his father, Sennacherib; Sennacherib received his from his father, Sargon; and Sargon received his from the troops in the field, that is, from the people. Thus we see that the power of the kingdom of Babylon, and of Nebuchadnezzar the king, or of his son, or of his son’s son, was simply providential, and came merely from the people.
Take, for example, Victoria, queen of Great Britain. How did she receive her power? — Simply by the fact that she was the first in the line of succession when William the Fourth died. Through one line she traces her royal lineage to William the Conqueror. But who was William the Conqueror? — He was a Norman chief who led his forces into England in 1066, and established his power there. How did he become a chief of the Normans? — The Normans made him so, and in that line it is clear that the power of Queen Victoria sprung only from the people.
Following the other line: The house that now rules Britain, represented in Victoria, is the house of Hanover. Hanover is a province of Germany. How came the house of Hanover to reign in England? — When Queen Anne died, the next in the line of succession was George of Hanover, who became king of England under the title of George the First. How did he receive his princely dignity? — Through his lineage, from Henry the Lion, son of Henry the Proud, who received the duchy of Saxony from Frederick Barbarossa, in 1156. Henry the Lion, son of Henry the Proud, was a prince of the house of Guelph, of Swabia. The father of the house of Guelph was a prince of the Alamanni who invaded the Roman empire, and established their power in what is now Southern Germany, and were the origin of what is now the German nation and empire. But who made this man a prince? — The savage tribes of Germany. So in this line also the royal dignity of Queen Victoria sprung from the people.
And besides all this, the imperial power of Queen Victoria as she now reigns is circumscribed — limited — by the people. It has been related, and has appeared in print, and although the story may not be true, it will serve to illustrate the point, that on one occasion, Gladstone, while prime minister and head of the House of Commons, took a certain paper to the queen to be signed. She did not exactly approve of it, and said she would not sign it. Gladstone spoke of the merit of the act, but the queen still declared she would not sign it. Gladstone replied, “Your Majesty must sign it.” “Must sign!” exclaimed the queen; “must sign! Do you know who I am? I am the queen of England.” Gladstone calmly replied, “Yes, Your Majesty, but I am the PEOPLE of England;” and she had to sign it. The people of England can command the queen of England; the power of the people of England is above that of the queen of England. She, as queen, is simply the representative of their power. And if the people of England should choose to dispense with their expensive luxury of royalty, and turn their form of government into that of a republic, it would be but legitimate exercise of their right, and the government thus formed, the power thus established, would be ordained of God as much as that which now is, or as any could be.
Personal sovereigns in themselves are not those referred to in the words, “The powers that be are ordained of God.” It is the governmental power of which the sovereign is the representative, and that sovereign receives his power from the people. Outside of the theocracy of Israel, there never has been a ruler on earth whose authority was not, primarily or ultimately, expressly or permissively, derived from the people. It is not particular sovereigns whose power is ordained of God, nor any particular form of government. It is the genius of government itself. The absence of government is anarchy. Anarchy is only governmental confusion. But says the Scripture, “God is not the author of confusion.” God is the God of order. He has ordained order, and he has put within man himself that idea of government, of self-protection, which is the first law of nature, and which organizes itself into forms of one kind or another, wherever men dwell on the face of the earth. And it is for men themselves to say what shall be the form of government under which they shall dwell. One people has one form; another has another. This genius of civil order springs from God; its exercise within its legitimate sphere is ordained of God; and the Declaration of Independence simply asserted the eternal truth of God, when it said: “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.” It matters not whether it be exercised in one form of government or in another, the governmental power and order thus exercised is ordained of God. If the people choose to change their form of government, it is still the same power; it is to be respected still, because it is still ordained of God in its legitimate exercise, — in things pertaining to men and their relation to their fellow-men; but no power, whether exercised through one form or another, is ordained of God to act in things pertaining to God; nor has it anything whatever to do with men’s relations toward God.
In the previous chapter we have shown that the Constitution of the United States is the only form of government that has ever been on earth which is in harmony with the principle announced by Christ, demanding of men only that which is Caesar’s, and refusing to enter in any way into the field of man’s relationship to God. This Constitution originated in the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and here we have found that the Declaration of Independence, on this point, simply asserts the truth of God. The American people do not half appreciate the value of the Constitution under which they live. They do not honor in any fair degree the noble men who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, that these principles might be the heritage of posterity. All honor to these noble men! All integrity to the principles of the Declaration of Independence! All allegiance to the Constitution as it is, which gives to Caesar all his due, and leaves men free to render to God all that he, in his holy word, required of them!
(A. T. Jones—Civil Government and Religion, chapter 3)
“Honor thy father and thy mother,” is one of the commands spoken from Mount Sinai. It is the only one of the ten to which a promise is attached,—“That thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Jesus was the Son of God; yet the Bible record tells us that he was subject to his earthly parents, Joseph and Mary, the humble peasants of Galilee. He did as he was told, even when the task assigned him was not agreeable to his feelings.
Consider the nature and the necessity of obedience. Children are not always taught this important lesson. The duty of obeying from right motives, and the sinfulness of disobedience, are not urged upon the conscience. Children must learn to submit to their parents; they must be trained and educated. No one can be truly good and great who has not learned to yield his will, first to his parents, and then to God, and to obey with alacrity. Those who learn to obey are the only ones who will be fitted to command.
By learning the lesson of obedience, children are not only honoring their parents and lightening their burdens, but they are pleasing One higher in authority. “Honor thy father and thy mother,” is a positive command. Children who treat their parents with disrespect, and disregard their wishes, not only dishonor them, but break the law of God. The earlier the will is made to yield to the will of the parents, and the more complete the submission, the less difficult it will be to yield to the requirements of God. And none can hope for the love and blessing of God who do not learn obedience to his commandments, and stand up firmly against temptation.
Children, you want will, but not a self-will that will not endure advice or listen to the counsel of experience. If you have younger brothers and sisters, do not set them an example of disobedience to your parents. Your influence will tend to lead them in the right path, that of peace and safety, or it will prove an injury to them. If you are pursuing a course of disobedience and vanity, will you not think candidly and soberly, and turn about? Cease your folly and transgression, and the Lord will forgive and bless you, and avert the evils which such a course would surely bring upon you.
Seek to be useful; help your parents by being care-taking and thoughtful. Do the duties nearest you, taking them just as they come, and doing them in a patient, cheerful spirit. You compose a part of the family, and add to the family work and expense; and you should be ready to do your part without a word of complaint. Do not frown and fret when any task is required of you, but cheerfully carry the little burdens, and thus relieve your parents of extra care. They are nothing but plain, homely, every-day duties, and may appear to you very small and insignificant, but some one must do them. If you go about them with quick step, and a heart glad because you can do something to lighten the cares of your parents, you will be a blessing in the home. You do not know how much good you can do by always wearing a cheerful, sunny face, and watching for opportunities to help.
It is by faithfulness in the minor duties of life that you are gaining an experience that will fit you for bearing larger responsibilities. Remember that your characters are not fully formed, but that day by day you are building for eternity. Fashion your characters after the divine model. Weave into them all the kindness, thoughtful obedience, pains-taking, and love that you can. Educate yourselves to possess the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.
Cultivate quick sympathy; always have a cheerful, happy face, and be ready to lend a helping hand to those who need your aid. The faithful performance of the loving acts that seem so small is entered upon the ledger of heaven. God will make no mistake; he will make an accurate entry of every deed done to his glory. Go forward children, step by step, in the humble path of obedience, walking in God’s ways; and in the great day of final accounts you will receive a glorious reward. You will be satisfied with long life in the beautiful new earth, “the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” (Mrs. E. G. White—Youth’s Instructor, September 24, 1884)
UNITY AND GIFTS OF THE CHURCH
(The following study is the fourth part of a four part study given by Elder James White in the pages of Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, for the dates December 3, 10, and 31, 1857—The first three parts were published last month in the February issue. This study has been slightly abridged and the referencing in this study has been updated. Editor)
UNITY AND GIFTS OF THE CHURCH. NO. 4.
Some speak of the gift of prophecy as though it belonged only to Old Testament times. But we read in Luke chapter two, that when the infant Jesus was presented before the Lord in the temple, that Anna, the prophetess, coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all of them that looked for redemption in Israel.
It may be said that this took place before the Christian age commenced. Very well; but Luke records it in the Christian age, for the benefit of the men who live in this age. But we will come to the Acts of the Apostles where there can be no question in regard to the dispensation in which the events occurred, and we find both men and women having the spirit of prophecy. Judas and Silas were prophets. See Acts 15:32. “And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Cesarea; and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judea a certain prophet, named Agabus.” (Acts 21:8-10)
The great apostle Paul had an experience on this subject which, probably, has not been well understood. He says to his Galatian brethren, “But I certify you brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man; for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11, 12)
Paul, then, received the gospel which he preached in open vision with the Lord Jesus Christ. This seems to have been the manner in which the Lord dealt with him from the time of his conversion. We take the following from his relation of his conversion, before king Agrippa.
“Whereupon, as I went to Damascus, with authority and commission from the chief priests, at mid-day, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me, and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
“And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet; for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” (Acts 26:12-19)
The Apostle writes to the Corinthian brethren touching his experience. “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth,) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth,) how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter. ... And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” (2 Corinthians 12:1-4, 7)
The apostle states to his Ephesian brethren, that Christ “gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists.” (Ephesians 4:11)
He also wrote to the brethren at Corinth and said, “And God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily, prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:28) Again he says to them, “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” (1 Corinthians 12:1)
It will be admitted that much of Paul’s writings to the church at Thessalonica have direct reference to the Christians of the last days, who are looking for the Lord. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and Chapter 5:1-8. “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken, are drunken in the night. But let us who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breast-plate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”
In this chapter Paul states many things very important to those who are watching for the day of the Lord, which they will do well to consider. But we wish here to notice particularly three things mentioned in verses 19-21.
1. “Quench not the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
2. “Despise not prophesyings. (1 Thessalonians 5:20)
3. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) The course pursued by many we may state as follows:
First, they quench the Holy Spirit. If they do not actually resist its influence and teachings, they are indifferent in regard to it. They grieve it away from them.
Second, they despise prophesyings, which are the fruit of the Spirit—“I will pour out of my Spirit, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” (Joel 2:28) Having quenched the Spirit, they are left to despise its fruits.
Third, instead of proving all things, and holding fast that which is good, many reject all that comes in the name of prophesyings. They throw it all away together.
Such are not wise. They not only depart from this portion of the word of God, but they slight important means of salvation. There is safety in following the Word.
1. “Quench not the Spirit.” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:19) Said Christ, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” (John 15:26) “I will send you the Comforter.” “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” (Luke 11:13) “Be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) This is the language of holy Scripture, and the blessed privilege of the saints. Christ promised the Spirit. He assures us that his Father is willing to bestow it upon those who ask him for it. Those who have tasted of the powers of the world to come, will dwell upon the numerous promises of the Word in regard to the Holy Spirit with great delight. It is safe to breathe out after the heavenly influence. Let every avenue of the soul open for its reception. To such as open the door of their hearts, Christ says, “I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.”
“Despise not prophesyings.” Those who do not quench the Holy Spirit; but whose feelings and spirits are softened, refined and sweetened by its hallowed influence, will not despise prophesyings. Here is one of the greatest dangers of some among the remnant which keep the Commandments of God, and have the Testimony of Jesus Christ. “The Testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,” which is in their midst, and which they are in danger of despising. It reproves their covetousness, their pride and vanity, and their sinful habits. Self is touched. The Devil tempts them, and some resist the teachings of the Holy Spirit, and they are left to despise the work of God.
But here a difficulty arises in some minds; many things come to us in the form of prophesyings, such as Spiritualism, what shall we do with them? The Apostle answers,
3. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” The world is filled with spiritual deception. Spiritualism is the crowning heresy of the age, is dangerous in theory, and dangerous and powerful by reason of the influences which arrest and captivate the mind. Here is a most deceptive counterfeit of the work of God. The prophets of the Lord have ever been brought under the influence of the Spirit of God, and have been taught through the agency of holy angels; while the mediums of this age are brought under the influence of Satan, and are taught by the “spirits of Devils.” But by what rule shall we prove them? We give the following rules, given by inspiration of God.
RULE FIRST.—“And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the Law and to the Testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:19, 20)
RULE SECOND.—“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:15-20)
Notice with care that this rule given by our Lord, touches the case exactly. He gives a rule by which we may know false and true prophets. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
By these rules the counterfeit may be detected, and the genuine known. By them we may prove all things, and hold fast that which is good. The teachings of the Holy Spirit, and good angels will most assuredly lead men to have faith in the Holy Scriptures, and lead to a life of self-denial, consecration and holiness. But those who have read most from the pens of Spiritualists, best know that this heresy leads men to reject and ridicule the Holy Scriptures, hate the God of the Bible, and despise salvation through Jesus Christ.
We think that the reader will not fail to see that the Apostle is tracing the same subject in the three declarations, viz., “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” The “all things” which we are to prove, must be limited to the subject of which the Apostle is speaking, viz., all things in the form of prophesyings. Those who object to this limitation, and understand “all things” to mean every thing, will certainly have to admit that the Apostle has required of them quite a task.
We close our remarks on this subject by calling attention to Joel 2:28-32. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also upon the servants and upon the hand-maids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.”
The points in this prophecy to which we wish to call attention are as follows:
1. The Spirit is to be poured out. It will not come like the dew or gentle rain upon the mown grass; but it will be poured out, so that every heart will be filled to overflowing. We think that this fullness of the Holy Spirit is illustrated by the latter rain.
2. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit both sons and daughters will prophesy. Some have excluded females from a share in this work, because it says, “your young men shall see visions.” They seem to forget that “man” and “men” in the Scriptures generally means both male and female. The infidel Paine would have been ashamed of a quibble involving such ignorance.
3. These manifestations of the Spirit are in connection with wonders in the heavens and in the earth in the sun and in the moon, which are signs of the near approach of the great and the terrible day of the Lord.
4. The deliverance of the remnant is here mentioned. Also, their calling on the name of the Lord, which will be in the time of trouble. We therefore conclude that the prophecy has its fulfillment in the last days, and that the pouring out of the Spirit, and the manifestations of the gift of prophecy is with the remnant which keep the Commandments of God, and have the Testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:17. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy.” (Revelation 19:10)
It may be said that Peter [Acts 2:16] applied this prophecy of Joel to what took place on the day of Pentecost. But we would inquire, How much of the prophecy was then fulfilled? Was the sun then turned into darkness, and the moon into blood? No, these were to be exhibited as signs of the great and the terrible day of the Lord. Neither is there the least evidence that wonders then appeared in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath. Luke states that they spoke with tongues, leaving us without evidence that any had visions on that day. And certainly the outsiders might well have been amazed on beholding old men asleep, dreaming dreams in the midst of the exciting scenes and uproar of the occasion. Well might they have supposed such to be stone drunk. It is true there was a mighty manifestation of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, but it is contrary to plain facts in the case to apply the whole prophecy there. It is also true, that it has been the privilege of the saints from that day to this to be filled with the Spirit. But in the last days it is to be poured out upon the remnant. Glorious promise to the waiting, trusting people of God.?
We currently have two more titles in the series “The Good News About God” ready for distribution. These titles are, “The Love of God,” which is actually the first message in the series, “The Good News About God,” and “The Holy Spirit,” the fifth message in the series. The third message covers the relationship between the Father and the Son. The fourth message covers the complete death of Christ on the cross. Some of these tapes are available in a version for Adventists and a version for non-Adventists. Please specify which version you need when requesting tapes.
For those who are able and wish to help with the expenses, the cost of video tape production and postage is $7.00 U.S.—$10.00 outside the U.S. The cost of audio tape production and postage is $2.00 U.S. —$4.00 outside the U.S. For those who need multiple copies of the same video tape, we are requesting a donation of $3.00 for each additional video tape requested in the United States, and $4.00 for each additional video of the same message requested outside of the United States. (Currently we only have NTSC format available.) For example, in the United States the suggested donation for one video would be $7.00, the suggested donation for two videos would be $10.00, the suggested donation for three videos would be $13.00 etc. For each audio tape, please add $1.00 for those sent within the United States and $1.50 for those to be shipped outside the United States. However, the audio and video tapes, as with all of our materials, are provided free. Anyone who sincerely requests materials and cannot help with expenses will be sent materials as we are able.
Duplication of these tapes is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged.
(The following is a small sample of the letters we receive. Due to space, most letters we receive cannot be considered for publication. Any who do not wish their letters to be considered for publication will have their request honored. We publish these for the encouragement and enlightenment of the readers of Old Paths. Editor)
Thank you so much for sending David Clayton’s video “Who is the God of the Bible?” The videos are a special blessing when you don’t have a church family. Thank you again. Florida
I came across the information about the blessing concerning the digital video camera and computer editing hardware and software. This is good news to me also! I’m thankful that you folks are willing to stand up and be counted as men for God. Your literature is excellent and to the point, the truth. There is too little of this these days. There is too much truth mixed in white lies. I pray for your work every day. … May God richly bless your work. Ohio
Thank you for sending me the video tape on “The Good News About God.” I love the way it was done. Very professional. God bless your work. I would love to order the additional tapes on the list. So when done, please send and I will send funds. Puerto Rico
Liked the first video Lots & Lots & Lots. Ohio
I would like to have the video presentation by Brother Dana Uhl “A Song of Hope and Trust.” I am happy to give these funds to you folks because I am so anxious that the little flyers and papers go out to all who will read and understand them. I also share the tapes and videos that I receive. California
Hope everything is going well with you all. The enclosed offering of $100.00 we’d like to be used for the video equipment project. Pennsylvania
I valued your “Digital Video Project Update” in the February issue of Old Paths. I have felt at times, that certain ministries seek to make a profit on their video making efforts. You stated clearly SGM’s expenses in preparing these presentations. You stated the cost for each additional tape, along with postage, so it could easily be understood by those of us, who, like me, need explicit instructions, and/or directions. I am definitely in that category. Montana
The video came today. I’m so happy. I’m going to write to Ann and see if she will mail them to me as they come out. I watched part of the first one with you and let me tell you it’s wonderful. Thank you for showing our great God’s love. I am so blessed and pleased with the message. I didn’t know God before as I thought how could He make Jesus come and die. It’s so beautiful now and how I love Him. Arkansas
The video tape is excellent. Sharp, clear, thorough, clear again, even the outside was great. You all did a great job. Praise the Lord. Maybe I’ll see you this Sabbath. West Virginia
The Truth About God
Since I assume you to be an honest man, desiring to know all truth revealed regarding God, I’m confident you will thank Him for what I am about to write to you about God.
In your January 2001 issue of Old Paths you published an article by David Clayton, denying that the Holy Spirit exists as a separate person and member of the Godhead, thus limiting the Deity to two persons,--God the Father and Jesus Christ.
That makes author Clayton and/or any who thus believe a one-third atheist. An atheist is one who denies the personal existence of God. For author Clayton teaches that anyone who worships the Holy Spirit is worshiping a non-person, “a god who does not exist.” Michigan
(Space does not permit us to print the remainder of the above letter. The rest of this dear brother’s correspondence gave what he considered supporting evidence for his position on the Holy Spirit, quoting from various Bible verses and Ellen White statements. The tenure of the letter, though differing from us in theology, was kind in nature showing that the writer had a deep concern for those he felt in error. Editor)
Greetings in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I have stumbled across your web site by typing in anti- Trinitarian and went into your site and WOW! This is the exact site I have been searching for! My husband and I are current members of the SDA Church here in Australia but we have searched thoroughly the doctrine of the Trinity and we cannot agree with it at all. We have been looking for like-minded people who are Adventists and believe in the doctrines that the pioneers believed. We believe they had it worked out 100% but we believe that the Church has apostatized and they think they haven’t! I have downloaded onto disk and paper heaps of your material and I thank you very, very much. We would love to receive the Present Truth Newsletter, and any other publications you care to send us. We agree 100% with what we’ve read about you so far. Australia
I was very fortunate to read some of your materials. I visited the U. S. in October of 99 and met with some brethren who introduced me to this wonderful truth about our Father and His only begotten Son Jesus. I have been thrilled and blessed, and I am presently sharing it with the brethren in St. Lucia where I am from. Please we need prayers and help. I need to say there had been a lot of resistance at first but the brethren are beginning to embrace the message. Praise the Lord. Please let us know of whatever pertinent literature you might have available. I believe this message needs to be taken to the whole Caribbean. It has to become infectious. Looking forward with eager anticipation to hear from you soon. St. Lucia, W.I
Greetings to All. We received a real blessing from the newsletter Old Paths. Looking forward to the next article of the Berean Attitude by Bob Habenicht. This should be all our goals to have this attitude. Florida
I thank you for the literature you have sent to me, a great blessing. Jesus has granted me some money that I normally would tithe to the General Conference but due to the Perez lawsuit, I cannot support the G. C. any longer so I have split my tithe among those I see doing the work. Please find enclosed a check for $50. P.S. It would be great to have a couple of Lynnford Beachy’s work called “Did They Believe in the Trinity” a blue 46 page, 81/2 x 11 booklet on what the founder of the SDA believed on the Trinity. Oregon
I read your pamphlet “Help Stop Religious Intolerance.” It is really a sad development that our highest level of administration has gone thus far. Zambia
Please send me your Old Paths publication. I have missed its good articles since I have not received it for a long time. Ohio
I don’t believe I ever expressed my appreciation for the remembrance of Bill Stringfellow article you wrote in, “Faithful Warrior Rests,” June 2000, issue of Old Paths. I believe the Lord has blessed you with an exceptional insight toward the goodness and value of others, and a wonderful way of expressing it. Montana
Please take me off your mailing list. Thank you. California
I’ve been trying to get through on the net, but can’t seem to get you. I would like very much to receive the publication, Old Paths. Friends … have shared with me some facts that I’m now studying and also reading some of your old publications that they have given to me, and would like to start receiving my own. North Carolina
Thank you for continuing to send me your newsletter. It is such a blessing. I am strengthened spiritually each time I read it. Thank you for being so ardent for the truth. I enjoy the studies very much. I hope someone will do a lesson study on the Latter Rain and the 144,000. Also I’ve heard several statements concerning the 3½ year prophecy. I was hoping Allen, Lynnford, David Clayton or Howard Williams or another brother in the Lord could expand on these topics. Looking forward to each issue. May God continue to bless your wonderful ministry and all the good works you do. Tennessee
The most important papers that come through my mail are Old Paths, Present Truth, OpenFace and The Clarion Call. The articles are very uplifting and informative. They go along with what I believe is truth. Please keep up the good work. May God bless each of you as you work for Him. Colorado
Could you please send a copy of the book Foundation of Our Faith? I’m already on your mailing list. California
Thank you so much for all the literature and for all your studied efforts to reach us (and all) with the truth. Washington
I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the work you all do to produce all the literature, tapes, videos, and the upkeep of your web sites. If it were not for these things the work of spreading the truths for this time would be greatly inhibited. Colorado
I do appreciate your web site. … I want to say how much I appreciate your site and commend you for it. I just printed a copy of the “What Did the Pioneers Believe” and plan on ordering some copies from you soon. I had purchased the Adventist Pioneer Library and I find it is loaded with the same material. Keep up the good work! Pennsylvania
I have a friend who is open to truth and I want to send him the book: Foundation Of Our Faith, by Allen Stump. Someone told me you might send the book at no charge. Is that true? Thanks. I enjoy your publications. God bless your wonderful ministry and you, personally. In His love. Arkansas
(It is true. Our material is free upon request as we are able to send it out.. Editor)
Thank you for your continued service to the Lord. …. May the Lord’s blessing be upon it. Florida
Thank you so much for the WV camp meeting tapes. I have listened to all of them and have been totally blessed. My husband is now in the process of listening to them. Please send us 10 Stop Religious Intolerance pamphlets. Washington
I must tell you, I was raised with an Adventist mother and an agnostic father. I believe much of what Adventism taught but do not look at EGW as many Adventists do: another pope—if you get my drift. I see her as a “messenger.” Georgia
Old Paths is published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. It is sent free upon request. Office phone: (304) 732-9204. Web site: http://www.smyrna.org.
Editor: Allen Stump -
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also visit our Present Truth Website!
This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013