A few previously featured articles from Endure To The End. I will attempt to add the text to the corresponding article headings when time permits.
THE WORD OF GOD
Arvell Bajema attempts to clarify misconceptions about the sometimes ambiguous term, "Word of God".
THE HOUSE CHURCH AND CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
Ron Patton shows how the original "ekklesia" contrasts significantly with today's church.
THE CHRISTIAN AND POLITICS
Carl Knott graciously expounds on reasons why Christians should not entangle themselves in the political arena.
THE NEW TESTAMENT TITHE
L.A. Metzger exposes the false doctrine of the New Testament tithe, of which was originally under the Mosiac Law, and intended for the Levitical priests.
THIS IS OUR DAY OF VISITATION
Clayton Sonmore challenges the "remnant" to walk in obedience by fleeing spiritual Babylon and stand firmly in God's presence.
IN EXILE UNDER THE TALMUD
Robert Topalian provides startling insight into the elicit and perverse practices found within the Babylonian Talmud.
THE ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOUR THOUSAND
Charles Bennett examines this hotly debated and grossly misunderstood mystery found in the book of Revelation.
THE AMERICAN-CHRISTIAN PATRIOT DELUSION
Wendy Wallace boldly refutes that many of the "founding fathers" were Christians, but who instead, served an entirely different god than the God of the Bible.
TO WHO'S CHURCH DO YOU BELONG?
Arvell Bajema humbily expresses how the contemporary church characterizes the Laodecian church as described in the book of Revelation.
THE DEPOPULATION AGENDA
Ron Patton emphatically substantiates that a world-wide genocide is presently taking place under the guise of "population control".
THE JESUIT CONNECTION
Robert Topalian illustrates how the Roman Catholic church and the Illuminati are inter-connected through the Order of the Jesuits and Freemasonry.
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: THE I.R.S. AND THE CHURCH
L.A.Metzger objectively purports how most churches are compromised by "giving in" to the 501(c)3 tax exempt status and thus, ultimitaley controlled by the Attorney General.
NO KINGDOM AS YET
Charles Bennett gives profound insight pertaining to symbolic representations of the "ten horns" as mentioned in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 & 17.
WHERE IS THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING?
Garron Frantzen eloquently weaves Scripture within context, to show believers where are blessed hope should be.
RESPONDING TO THE NEW WORLD ORDER
Ron Patton concludes that survivalism, preparedness, and patriotism is Biblically misinterpreted by many who embrace the notion of "self-evident" rights.
By Ed Spurlin
Do we have a heart to know God? Are we driven by a desire for truth and understanding, or by an unconscious need to vindicate our own beliefs? How can we be sure of the true object of our affection, as well as the ultimate goals of our study?
The answers to these questions are not as obvious as we first might like to believe . Many think they can never be deceived, and can never be motivated wrongly - only to find themselves standing naked in the midst of their enemies, when the Holy Spirit exposes their prideful joustings and manuverings, which long ago stripped away the garment of truth that God gave us to cover our shame.
Are we really seekers of truth? Do we honestly approach God's word with an open, humble heart, desirous of knowing His will - even when it exposes the foolishness of our own plans and desires? Or do we fervently search out passages that confirm our thoughts and ideas, while subtly ignoring those which contradict them?
Are we humble enough to repent of a long-held belief or practice, when we encounter God's specific commandments denying it? Or do we labor long into the night searching to rationalize it away: "God doesn't work that way anymore:" or "it was translated improperly;" or the ultimate, "we're under the liberty of grace now, so we don't need to be concerned with such 'legalism'"?
How we study His word, and approach the areas in which it contradicts our lifestyle, reveals a tremendous amount about our real discipleship. Does the servant wait for his master to ask him agreeably to do what the servant wants? Or is the servant's desire to obey - despite the personal sacrifice and inconvenience?
Many approach His commandments with a measuring tape and micrometer, forever seeking out the absolute minimum needed to "get by". But does this legalistic rebellion really reflect a heart that has been transformed by an outpouring of His grace?
Jesus told His followers to be willing to walk two miles with the man who unjustly compels us to walk one? He is describing a vastly different attitude than is evident most places today.
Are we so concerned with the salvation of our enemies, that we are willing to endure indignity and suffering, in order to demonstrate the contrast of God's righteousness to man's self-serving accommodation? Anyone who can superficially answer this has never really allowed God to search out his inner motivations.
The way we approach our studies reveals where our heart really dwells. Are we hungering anew each day for ways in which we can know Him? Or is our quest to find more scripture to validate our present goals, hastily brushing past those that point out our weaknesses and errors?
Sadly, most Bible study is geared toward acquiring knowledge, and properly cataloguing facts, rather than in transforming the life of the student. How much of it is devoted to finding "ten verses to show why...", rather than allowing the sweet clear water of His word to cleanse away the debris and selfishness of our wordly minds? As a result, we become very adept at rattling off large amounts of knowledge with little practical humility to show for it.
Knowledge, for its own sake, is very dangerous. It puffs up our pride, convincing us that, because we have command of so many facts, we've "arrived". Paul warned, "If any man think he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know." (1 Corinthians 8:2)
Nevertheless, we set out to develop our catechisms and books of "facts of our faith", believing that when we have aquired enough, we will please God and be "mature" Christians. What happens instead is that we become unteachable.
What is our first reaction, when we hear someone quote a passage of Scripture: "Oh, I know that one already." If so, we are well along the road to never being able to learn anything else. When our thoughts lead to ways to adjust or grade other's efforts, rather than hear what God may be trying to say to us through them, we have already lost the precious humility, through which God can speak to us.
In it's place, we have substituted philosophy, grounded in man's reasonings and logical expoundings, rather than the living, transforming power of God's word. We approach each new exposure to truth as an intellectual challenge, much like that faced by a debater, rather than as a hungry wayfarer in search of life-sustaining food. Success is marked by the one who can compile the greatest listing of facts, instead of one who can most effectively demonstrate the broken, loving humility of a child of God.
Are we willing to approach others with the heart-felt question, "Is there a gem of truth I might glean from this person, whereby I can enrich my life?" Will we take up studying His word with the desire to live better, according to His will, instead of needing to justify our own? Or do we carefully direct our efforts to supporting our theories and opinions?
We can acquire vasts amounts of knowledge; and yet never truly KNOW Him. Our factual knowledge about Him can never substitute for that gained through relationship with our Father, teacher, and friend. Yet many sadly by-pass this relationship entirely, in their quest for factual orthodoxy, somehow believing that mere knowledge about something is the equivelant of actual experince. Can reciting the accounts of other's experinces with God possibly equal the experince of being there? Is the act of reading and recitation the "faith equivalent" of actually receiving His loving embrace?
Many believe they are living every manifestation of Christ's life in His believers, by faith, yet have never personally seen, felt, or demonstrated any of it. In their pride of scriptural orthodoxy, they denounce those who have, and labor long to justify their belief that God never intended for us to "experince" anything. He merely wants us to be content that it "could" happen.
Every cult is founded upon individual efforts to make Scripture conform to our opinions. Elaborate books and Bible studies are concoted to lead new converts along the convoluted path to fully embrace these warped doctrines. Students are discouraged or forbidden to undertake any other form of study, lest they accidently encounter some of the passages that openly contradictthe exalted leader's most profound truths.
As we are training new believers in Christ, to avoid such pitfalls of deception, why do we insist on instilling the same study techniques and attitudes practiced by the cults? Are we not, in effect, training them to be deceived in the future? If not that, we are certainly laying the ground work for prideful stubborness, as the new "scholars" master more and more of their 20th century catechisms. But the key question, that goes unanswered, is whether any of this "knowledge" will ever begin to manifest itself in the believer's life.
A person can accurately recite the precise theological distinction between consecration and sanctification without ever truly allowing either concept to enter his or her life. Likewise, this quest for appropriate answers will begin to create a mind-set that will guarantee that the individual will never allow God's word to change any preset traditions he may cling to.
Only when we are willing to search His word, with an attitude of being a blank slate, waiting to be written on - despite our assumed maturity - can we expect to receive from Him. If we maintain an attitude of "I already have a sufficiency; I just want to see what you have to offer," we will never receive anything. We can only receive from God when we approach Him, destitute and bankrupt of anything of value in ourselves. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of heaven."
Our "much knowledge" doesn't produce such a heart attitude. Instead, it breeds an arrogance and haughtiness that contends with the Holy Sprirt's gentle proddings, until He becomes our intellectual adversary, rather than our loving teacher. We may win the intellectual battle, besting our opponents arguments with an "approprite" scriptural counter at every turn; but who will celebrate our scholarly accomplishments, when He turns to us sadly and says, "Depart from Me, for I never knew you."? Is there a prize for being "right" in an argument when its very nature is rooted in fleshly pride? Will our haphazardly stiched-together blanket of "facts" serve as a garment of truth to conceal our naked shame? Or will the gaps and inconsistincies, we refused to acknowledge, revael the shame our reprobate hearts, which we strive so hard to conceal?
God is giving each of us the liberty of being changed and clothed anew in the secrecy of our time with Him. Those who reject this merciful dealing will one day discover his secret strivings proclaimed for all the world to hear from the rooftops. We have a choice to make, whether to become so obsessed with feeding our pride in our imagined "maturity" that we really never hear what He is trying to say. Those who profess the loudest that God doesn't speak to His saints today are those who have been so busy in pridefully proving their doctrines, that they've never taken the time to listen.
Of what value to us is a neatly charted eschatological time line, if our very souls have been weighed in the balance and found wanting?
We will all stand before God to give account of what we have said and done in our bodies, that we haven't repented of. Will our wealth of head knowledge atone for this sin, which we refused to yield to His cleansing flood?
Can we be certain that our hearts will be tender to Him in the future to His warning today? "Today, if you would here His voice, harden not your hearts as in the day of provocation." Of what value will our intellectual accomplishments be, if we have foresaken the Giver of Life to attain them.
(The above article was originally featured in the September 1996 issue of "Voice In The Wilderness" and reprinted in the Fall 1996 issue of "Endure To The End".)