Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mysticism Defined

Mysticism Defined...

Mysticism appears to be one of those many subjects people tend to stay away from. It is avoided because it is misunderstood and wrongly associated with Catholicism. The writer knows people who will reject anything a mystic may say based upon the "mystic status" of the one being rejected. This is a sad habit. As Bishop Ryle states in his "Expository Thoughts on the Gospels", "I have found light where I expected to find darkness and darkness where I expected to find light" [paraphrased]. A good rule to study by is this; All truth belongs to God regardless from whom it comes.

Having written the above, I would like to provide my readers with a series of simple, practical definitions of "mystic". These definitions will be in the form of easily digestable sentences which should help you to "think upon these things". These definitions come from the writer and are not borrowed from no others, but, (he hopes) the Holy Spirit. Let's begin...

#1. Mystics, it seems, are chosen by God for a special communion with Him.
#2. One can be a mystic and not be aware of it because of a misunderstanding of the term.
#3. After reading the Word of God, the mystic walks closely with the God of the Word.
#4. He Who inspired the Scriptures inspires the walk, the thoughts, the feelings of the mystic.
#5. Mysticism is God speaking and being heard.
#6. Mysticism is a constant satisfying awareness of God's constant Presence.
#7. The mystic prays without ceasing.
#8. With the mystic, words are not a needful part of communion with God. In fact, they can hinder his communion.
#9. The spirit of prayer rests upon the mystic. He falls asleep in prayer and when he "awake[s], I am still with Thee" (Psalm 139"18). Note the word "still".
#10. The mystic inhales the holy Presence of God and exhales ceaseless prayer and praise.
#11. The mystic thinks in terms of prayer/communion and this is second nature.
#12. The mystic lives outside and above man's tradition and, therefore, he is offensive to man.
#13. The mystic's great fear is broken fellowship with God.
#14. The mystic loves God.
#15. The mystic practically lives in the "new Heaven" already.
#16. The mystic's great goal is God and God alone.

In closing, mysticism is not "myth-icism" but it is a constant dwelling in the Presence of the Original Mystery. Mysticism is a mystery to the "non-mystic". Mysticism has nothing to do with denominations. Mysticism is a very real and very practical walk with God.

Buried in Christ,
St. Loder, a mystic.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

"Loving Numbers with all Thy Heart"

"...And they said unto him...is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe...? and the priest's heart was glad...and [he] went in the midst of the people." (Judges 18.)

The above is not pulled from a church newspaper (though it could be), but it is a recorded event found in God's Word and it is a reflection of many a pastor today. In our last posting, this writer revealed the motive of some church leaders. In today's posting we'll take a look at the reasons for the number-lusting one finds in some ministries.

In the above passage one may see that a church leader is glad in heart to "minister" to more people. It is not bad to have one's "coasts enlarged" if the motive is the glory of God. However, the glory of God is not the focus of many today; but numerical growth is. Many pastors are like hell..."ever moving and never satisfied". Why is there such a focus on numbers today?
#1. Pride, in its many sinful forms, is the foundational cause.
#2. Seminary teaches this number-lusting. It begins with "how many did you get saved?", and continues later with "How many you running?"
#3. Sometimes money is the motivation- but not as much as one might think.
#4. Many teachers, preachers, and pastors have no confidence in their own unsound teachings, and they need people to affirm their ministry. When a man of God is confident in his teachings, ministry, and fellowship with God he does not need man's affirmations.
#5. God is not enough for them so they need man's acceptance of their person. As the Master stated, "They have their reward."
#6. This falling away from sound doctrine has been prophesied and now is. Scripture truth means nothing to them.
#7. Many of the church leaders are unsaved- as are their "numbers". They are blind leaders of their equally blind followers and parrots.
#8. As Paul stated, they are ministers of Satan and have been outwardly transformed into ministers of light.

Q. What is one to do if in this kind of "church"?
A. "Have no fellowship with works of darkness" (Ephesians 5:11) and also 2Timothy 3:5.
Q. How can one know if they are in a "church" like the above?
A. "Try the spirits." In other word, put their teachings on trial with the Scriptures as Judge.

Trust your spirit to none but God and His inspired Apostles.

Buried in Christ,
St. Loder

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A god of the " 'Church' " Acts 2:47b

....And the Lord added to the church....

When the writer reads this he understands that it is Christ that adds to His church daily such as should be saved. A debate on this verse would focus on the "should be saved" portion. The debate should, however, be upon "the Lord" portion of this verse. The writer (and majority of his readers) understand that God sovereignly and irresistably adds to His church those for whom Christ died. We understand that the term "church" refers to the mystical body of the "called". Those who are added to the church are ushered in by the Spirit's irresistable work of regeneration and subsequent conversion. The Spirit uses the applied Word of God to bring about this new life. The writer understands that the above can be expanded, but he presents merely the gist.

While the above could certainly be a point of debate, the above is not the point of this posting. The point of this posting is to assault those who worship and lust after numbers. The average preacher today is a luster of numbers. The world accuses preachers of greed. As is usually the case, the world is wrong. Most preachers are not greedy of financial gain. They are greedy of church growth for pride's sake. They sacrifice scripture truth to the alter of the god that is church growth. They use code words like "soul winning", "outreach", and "being burdened for the lost" in order to grow their "business". I call it "business" because they use worldy business methods and ignore the scriptures' injunction to "love not the world" and "the friend of the world is the enemy of God." Number-lusting preachers tell their starving flocks that "the blood of the lost will be on their hands!" This is the heresy that many missionaries are happy to use. While the false preacher will defend the heresy, he will reject the God-honoring preachers who can truly feed the flock.
These preachers use "VBS" and gifts/awards in order to bribe kids to come to church. The whole purpose in bringing the children to church is in the hopes of blackmailing the parents to come and hear their deceived kids sing unscriptural songs by unqualified teachers and hear a false gospel message.
Preachers are willing to forsake God's teaching on repentance and sanctification to "get people saved". They will redefine "belief" to be an acknowledging of a series of (misrepresented) facts by bowed heads and raised hands. If no one raises their hand, the "minister of light" will falsely say, "I see that hand," which will cause a whirlwind of hands being raised by the unregenerate (to the excitement of the number-lusting preacher.) The preacher then will brag on the number of people he has "brought to the Lord" while neglecting to acknowledge his denial of biblical truth.
If you are a pastor, preach the truth and let God add to your number as He sees fit. This writer left a church a couple years ago because of the above. He now teaches sound, historical Christianity to a handful of people in his home, and is willing and able to defend his teaching. He would rather teach the handful of people who love the Lord and His Word than a churchful of carnal number-loving tares. Growth of the individual is a sign of God's blessings and not the growth of a church through the denial of God, His demands, and His truths.
Buried in Christ,
St. Loder

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What Do We Really Know?

"...and if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."
1 Cor. 8:2

Be careful for knowledge because it will puff you up. Anytime the flesh is puffed up the spirit deflates. Paul warned his readers to be careful with knowledge. However, Peter prayed that believers would grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. Solomon said that the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. There is a danger in knowledge, and yet, there is danger in ignorance. The knowedge one is granted should cause praise and humility in Christ's Name. Knowledge gained should not cause praise for self.

The writer has often wondered what people are doing as they "contend for the faith." Are they truly contending for the faith which was delivered to them or are they defending themselves and "their faith" ? The writer left a church more than a year ago and people he "worshiped" with look down on him. He did not leave them, he left a "work of darkness" where "godliness was measured by gain." Yet others took it personally because they felt their faith was attacked. Reader, do you contend for the faith and the Deliverer of that faith or do you fight from flesh? Do you "contend" in order to demonstrate your intelligence and knowledge?

Reader, Do you have all the answers? St. Paul states, " [You] knoweth nothing yet..." When you realize how little you really know then will you know something of importance. You say, " I know the Word of God" but do you know the God of the Word? If your Bible was taken from you- where would you be? Both writer and reader should seek grace and divinely-given ability to know the God of the Word... and not only the Word of God. To know the God of the Word is to be humbled, and to know only the Word of God is to be "puffed up."
Abraham knew only the God of the Word and he is called our father! Abraham saw Christ and rejoiced! Paul was an Hebrew of the Hebrews, a Pharisee of the pharisees. He was taught by the great Gamaliel, and after he came face to Face with God- he counted all his knowledge as dung!

Does this writer suggest that knowledge is not good? God forbid! Give yourselves to reading. Spurgeon said he was addicted to study. Pink and Edwards studied 12-13 hours a day. Paul told Timothy to bring him certain items and added don't forget the books. The writer is far from telling you not to learn. Read, read and read some more. Read all you can get your mind around and expand your reading. J.C. Ryle said he found light where he expected darkness, and darkness where he expected light. Read Wesley on prayer, but avoid him on theology. Read C.S. Lewis, and prove all things, keep that which is good and discard that which is unsound. Read Augustine on election, but avoid his teachings on baptism. Take Lloyd Jones' advice and "read Pink"... [carefully]. The writer suggests other authors in his profile. But above all, read the Holy Ghost-breathed scriptures, and look for God through His gracious dealings with some men and His justice in the lives of others.

Thank God for all the knowledge He gives you and ask Him for humilty in receiving it. In His Light you shall see light (Ps.36). Look to Him.

Buried in Christ,
St. Loder

Friday, December 28, 2007

"The Wind bloweth where it listeth"

"Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The [W]ind bloweth where it [I]t listeth..."
(John 3"7-8)

Those who have entered into covenant relations with God, through Christ, can look forward to joys unspeakable. In fact, the half has not yet been told. Our Saviour, the Master Builder, has gone to prepare a place for those who walk with Him -for them who love Him, trust Him, and obey Him. They, like Abraham, look for a city made without hands; a continuing city. This hope sustains the faithful.

On the other side of this hope we find hopelessness. We find the promise of torment and separation from God and His blessings. This causes great heaviness and sorrow for the concerned saints. Another heaviness for the concerned saint is their inablility to convey the gospel to their unsaved loved ones.

At this point let the writer state a very unpopular belief he holds. He does not believe that every person is called to share the gospel. Not every person is called to witness. Every saint is called to be a witness but not to witness. In the often quoted passages like Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15, the Master is speaking to men which have been placed in the office of minister. When St. Paul speaks of gospel preaching in 2Cor. he uses terms such as, "we", "us", "our" etc. Paul, when using the above pronouns, speaks of himself, Timotheus, Silas and other fellow ministers. The writer understands this is considered an attack on the gospel itself, but he is not worried because it is a biblically defendable statement.

In light of the above... what is a mother, father, son or daughter to do with their unsaved loved one? "Marvel not". When the Wind or Spirit comes He will clarify all that needs to be understood by the sinner. The Spirit is "able to make one wise unto salvation".

One is never saved by the worry or clarity of a concerned saint or praying family member. The sinner is saved by the sovereign, clarifying, and regenerating work of God the Spirit.

My reader, live the gospel, love the Master, and commit your loved ones to God.

The Lord Jesus tells Nicodemus not to worry about his inability to understand the spiritual, because when the Spirit comes He will give the ability to understand. This text, if grasped with the hands of faith, can give great comfort to those with unsaved family and friends.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Divine Hatred

"And I hated Esau"
Malachi 1:3

In the previous posting the subject was loving one's enemy. In this post the subject will be hatred. The chosen text for this study is Malachi 1:3, which can be compared with Romans ch. 9. In this verse we find God Himself stating hatred for someone. Does God hate? Yes He does. I know that some readers will be quick to point out that it is a nation God is referring to in the passage, and not a person. Correct, but that is the reason one should compare it with Romans ch. 9.
Romans 9 speaks of Divine election. God chose to love Jacob and hate Esau. This election was made prior to either man doing good or evil (Romans 9). This election occured before the foundation of the world (Eph.1). The writer is prepared to state and defend the biblical doctrine of divine sovereignty and free election, but not here, and not now. The subject of this posting is divine hatred and not election. What does it mean for God to hate something or someone? It means the opposite of loving something or someone. The biblical definition of love, as stated prior, is desiring the best for someone. The biblical definition for hatred is to oppose something or someone. In fact, the word for hate in the original language is "to oppose". When God stated His hatred for Esau (nation and/or person) He was stating His opposition. Please read Malachi 1:3-5 for God's actions in relation to His hatred.
Psalm 50:21 states, "[thou didst err when] thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself." God is not like us. He does not hate like we do. Hatred, in man, controls him. God is not controlled by anything- including hate. Man's hatred controls his actions, feelings, and thoughts. That is not so with God. When God hates it has nothing to do with emotion and everything to do with holiness, righteousness, and divine choice. People cannot conceive of God hating because they do not understand the biblical definition of divine hatred.
When we find the psalmist expressing hatred we do not find justification for ourselves to be controlled by an emotion. God Forbid. We do find warrant to oppose things ungodly.
To sum up this and the last posting one might say, "I, as a follower of Christ, must desire God's best for all people- but at the same time I must oppose all that oppose/hate God."

Buried in Christ,
St. Loder

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Loving One's Enemy.

"... say unto you, Love your enemies..."

The above words proceeded from the Master and therefore must be obeyed. This command may seem impossible to many, but it must be remembered that God is the God of the impossible. Why would one find loving one's enemy impossible? It is because the biblical definition of love is not understood. Allow the writer to provide his definition of biblical love. Biblical love is looking upon another and desiring God's best for them. Note the lack of emotions. I heard of a believer telling another that it is sin to dislike fellow believers. That is ridiculous. It is not a sin to dislike fellow Christians. It is a sin not to love them. Again, let it be said that to love another is to desire God's best for them. One can have this desire without liking another. The writer does not say it is good to dislike fellow believers, but it is a reality in many cases. In the above text the command of the Master is to love not the brother or even the neighbor, but the enemy. How is one to do this? In Matthew 5:44 you may find the answer. "...bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Example is given in the follwing verses as well.
Let both writer and reader remember this in the future (DV). When the enemy provokes, let us seek and desire God's best for him through our blessing upon him, our goodness to him, and our prayer for him. Evil must be overcome by goodness.
It is acceptable to dislike but not to "dislove".

Buried in Christ,
St. Loder