Archive for June, 2008

JUNE FAMILY NEWS – MISSION UPDATE

Posted in Mission Updates 2008 on June 25, 2008 by filerofish

June is always a very busy month for us as a family. Since my wife teaches full time, our schedules generally revolve around the many school activities that take place toward the end of the semester. This year, my second son Santiago graduates from secondary or Jr. High and will move on to a public technical prep school next semester. We are no longer able to afford a private school for all three of my children at the same time. He will be paying a one time $180 registration fee, plus all of his books and other personal expenses.

We are so proud and thankful for Santiago’s outstanding academic performance. God has truly blessed him with a better than average acumen. He even takes Japanese classes at the University’s language department on weekends – just for the fun of it! He loves to draw, and dreams of designing software and video-games someday. “Santi” likes to practice skateboarding, which gives him plenty of physical exercise and provides opportunities to socialize with other boys his age.

My oldest son Naphtali also finished his semester with flying colors. Since his career change to software design (instead of robotics) at the beginning of the year, he is having to adapt to the new schedule in order to allow newer students to catch up with him. Software design was not offered as a career choice when he first entered the university. Right now, he is not sure how the next semester is going to work out but we are praying and trusting God to lead him in the right direction. We are still considering the possibility of a semester at Boise Bible College if that’s what the Lord wants. Meanwhile, Naphtali is helping with chores around the house and teaches the adult Sunday school class on weekends. He has a real servant’s heart and I deeply appreciate his faith and conviction.

Kimberly finished her school year in second place by a very slim margin. Mexico uses a numerical system for grading in which 10 equals an “A” plus or excellent. Kimberly obtained a grade average of 9.9, just one decimal point behind first place. She had been sick for several days toward the end. So that explains the difference. She loves doing her homework though, and her diligence has obviously paid off. Kim is a real sweetheart. She gives me a lot of love during the day and lifts my spirits up when I am running low. She has been God’s special gift to our family. We would not be complete without her. Kimberly loves to sing and says that she wants to be a Christian artist someday. She has the voice for it anyway.

This year was Miriam’s first experience with a full teaching load. I can tell that it has taken a toll on her back, but she enjoys her work very much. Her students love her, and she feels like she is accomplishing something very important in their lives. Miriam is always busy with her work at school, at church, and at home. She has truly been the driving force in this family. I would be lost at sea without her.

I recently turned 48 on June 19th. As an M.K. (missionary’s kid) I have been through a lot. It would take many pages to recount all the significant events of a lifetime on the mission field. (That might make a good book project sometime) On the American side, I have witnessed both the ascent and the digression of our fellowship of Christian churches/ churches of Christ, and their Direct Support missions program. On the Mexican side, I have seen a steady flow of preachers come and go – many times do to burnout, moral failure, physical illness, and even premature death. At the national level, I have seen the brethren swing from one extreme of the legalist-liberal pendulum to the other. While some lean toward a broader evangelical-ecumenical position that borders on Charismatic, others appear to be stuck in a holiness/ works-oriented rut that would probably be akin to the Wordite movement of the 1940’s in the States. Then there are those who want to institutionalize the church and have a denominational matrix in mind. Rarely do you find those who occupy the proverbial middle ground, so to speak. This contrast causes continual tension that fractures unity and Christian forbearance. Therefore, local congregations often become isolated from each other.

During these past four years I have dealt with more physical, emotional, and spiritual pain than at any other period of my life. These trials have been taxing both on my personal health and on my family. There have been numerous sleepless nights in which I have laid awake wondering if I will even be able to make it through another day without a heart attack or stroke. After all, my stress-related cholesterol levels are high enough. Nevertheless, God has supernaturally sustained and strengthened us with His great love and mercy. This is undoubtedly a response to all the prayers of our partners, family, and friends such as you. For that, I am forever grateful!

I have endured and will continue to endure these circumstances only because I am convinced of the infinite value that God places on each individual soul, and of His intense desire to save all who will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Regardless of anything else that is said or done, the key focus of my life has been and will continue to be the salvation of the lost through the preaching of the one true Gospel to the Mexican and Spanish-speaking people.

Miriam and I have been reminiscing with regard to the many experiences that we have had during our 22 years of marriage. It has been a very interesting ride to say the least. We have had more than our share of ups and downs, and life doesn’t seem to get any easier as we go along. Yet, when we stop to take an inventory of all the blessings that God has brought into our lives, we see his handiwork at every twist and turn of our story. For example, I recently pulled out a huge scrapbook that I have kept on my bookshelf for all these years. This particular notebook contains all of the research that I accumulated during my exodus out of my three-year incursion into the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement. I noticed that it was only one year before our wedding that God led me out of that particular error. His grace was sufficient for me then, so I know that is more than sufficient for me now.

Thank you so much for playing a key part in our successes, and for holding us up in prayer during our trials and failures.

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THE HUGE NEED FOR VBS AND SUNDAY SCHOOL MATERIAL – SPECIAL MISSION UPDATE

Posted in Mission Updates 2008 on June 21, 2008 by filerofish

When my wife asked me to locate Spanish VBS material for this year, I must confess that I had no idea of where to look for it. We have had to make do with inter-denominational literature for several years in a row now, because of the notable absence of Biblically-sound student workbooks.

One of the first things that my father discovered when he arrived in Mexico was the enormous need in the entire Spanish-speaking world for Biblically-sound teaching material. The Vacation Bible School was one program that required special immediate attention. There wasn’t even much denominational material being produced back then, and there is even less today. So, Dad and a fellow missionary by the name of Lorene Martin managed to obtain permission from Standard Publishing Co. to translate and produce their backlog of archived materials into Spanish.

For many years, CMME translated, printed, and distributed VBS student books and teachers’ manuals on an annual basis. It was quite an undertaking as entire sets had to be re-created and adapted from their English version. For those involved in the project, it soon became a year-long process.

Later on, Christian Mission Press under the direction of Gordon Clifford continued to produce these materials for sometime, but to my knowledge these books are no longer being printed. I have contacted Standard, Good News Productions (Spanish department), LATM, Spanish American Evangelism Ministries and several others to see if anyone is producing something similar but I haven’t gotten any responses yet.

Although the traditional VBS program has been abandoned by many church bodies in the States, we in Mexico have found it to be extremely useful in pre-evangelism and children’s ministries. Many local congregations have even gotten their start with a ten or five day VBS event that has set the stage for further follow-up in the local community. Even today, churches are finding an opportunity to reach out to those who attended a VBS when they were young.

Today, there continues to be a tremendous demand for free or inexpensive VBS and Sunday school materials. With the advent of the Internet, this literature can be made readily available for free in electronic form, and posted online for anyone to download, provided they have access to a computer and a printer. A hard copy version could be made available for a reasonable contribution, and that way offset the cost of production.

Another bonus is the availability of possible contributors to this effort. The task becomes so much more viable when more individuals participate in the process. Christian believers with various talents could make their own unique contribution to the final product: artists, writers, proof-readers, editors, designers, printers, etc. It could be the literary equivalent of the “Open Source” project that has taken the world of software by storm.

Who knows, maybe this could be the beginning of a broader publishing ministry that would set a new standard for our Spanish-speaking brotherhood. Is anyone out there willing to take on this ministry? I am open to work with others in putting something together for next year, if the Lord should tarry. Meanwhile, we will continue to use whatever we have and try to train our teachers to watch for any significant doctrinal deviations.

A BELATED LOVE AFFAIR – MISSION UPDATE

Posted in Mission Updates 2008 on June 19, 2008 by filerofish

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. (Luke 10:27 – KJV, emphasis added)

Dearly beloved in Christ,

How did we miss it? After all, it has been there right in front of us all this time. Matthew phrases it a little differently in his gospel: “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 – KJV)

In a nutshell, the heart and core of true biblical discipleship is a sold-out radical love for God. Nothing less will do! One can take all of the “Alpha” and “Purpose-Driven” courses he wants, and still miss that one essential element that makes a person a true follower of Christ. No wonder the Master chided his early followers saying, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46 – KJV, emphasis added) Until one has completely fallen in love with the Lord Jesus, it is nearly impossible to obey His commands. We cannot give to others what we ourselves do not have. We cannot lead others where we have never gone before, and there lies our present day conundrum in the 21st century church.

Yesterday, I picked my copy of Bill Pile’s little booklet “Going for the Gold in Discipleship” that I have in my personal library. If you don’t have it yet, you may want to check with Star Bible Publications to see if they still have it in stock. I have always loved brother Pile’s insightful and yet humble approach toward difficult subjects. He also has a book published by College Press on the subject What the Bible Says About Grace, but I don’t have that particular work, and I don’t know if you can get it anymore. If anyone of you would be willing to part with yours, I would love to hear from you. Bill has since gone on to be with the Lord, and I miss my dear friend. But I am grateful that he has left some of his writings behind to refresh our memories and shake us out of our comfort zone.

In “Going for the Gold”, Bill stimulates the reader’s thinking by challenging the status quo in contemporary Christendom. He and his wife Carmelita walk us through a series of experiences they both had during a nine month sabbatical in which they visited five different churches to compare their various discipleship models. Here are some of my own thoughts on this topic:

After the failed model of the Shepherding Movement in the 70’s, and the Boston Movement (International Church of Christ) fiasco in the 80’s, discipleship seems to have fallen on hard times. Some in church leadership have introduced the unscriptural practice of getting members to enter into a “covenantal relationship”, a form of bondage to the will of another fallen fallible human being. Many in the church-growth movement use a similar tactic to get new members to commit unconditionally to the pastor’s “vision.” Now we have the Emergent Church come along proposing a theology-by-community-consensus model which subjects the objective propositional truth of God’s holy word to the existentialist interpretations of the vox populi. Where will all of this deviant thinking lead us?

True biblical discipleship is a love affair with the Messiah. He is to remain the focus of our attention, devotion, and obedience at all times if we desire to please him. No one else can replace him or even substitute for him. Jesus tells it like it is when he said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:15-21)

Church leaders have been ordained by God to assist and guide us in our walk with the Lord, but they are not to lord it over the flock: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.” (1Pe 5:2) Jesus warned his disciples to refrain from ruling over their fellow brethren by exercising authority over them, and he instructs them to lead by service (Luke 22:25-27)

Personally, I am convinced that the contemporary church is so enamored with corporate style management that it has failed to grasp the fundamental nature of Christianity. The New Testament church is unlike any other human institution. It ought to be a Spirit-led community where each and every disciple is learning to love and obey his Master, Savior and Lord by following the example of those who are mature in the faith. The love of Christ should flow freely among the saints, allowing for mutual edification, exhortation, counsel and support. If the church is going to survive this century at all, it can no longer put off this love affair indefinitely.

May we all begin to take the necessary steps to allow ourselves to relearn what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Let us tear down the walls of apathy and indifference that keep us isolated from the Lord and from each other. Let’s call others to our side who are willing to march with us in this holy priestly calling of making disciples of all nations. While we do these things, let’s continuously remind ourselves that discipleship is not a program or even a “covenant”, but rather a “love affair” that is long overdue.

Fathers Fighting for the Heart and Soul of America! – Mission Update

Posted in Mission Updates 2008 on June 12, 2008 by filerofish

Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luk 17:28-30)

As believers in Christ, we are in the middle of an ongoing spiritual battle for the very soul and future of the entire American continent. In just a couple of decades, the homosexual “lifestyle” has gone from being illegal to a “preference”, and there is new legislation being introduced in Congress today that will make it illegal to preach against homosexuality. “A new Colorado law is helping homosexual activists achieve their goal of forcing Christians to teach biblical condemnation of homosexuality only behind the closed doors of their sanctuaries…The as-yet untested state law promotes sexual identity ‘perception’ to the level of skin color under state discrimination laws.” Read the complete article


Similar laws have been enacted in Canada. “On Friday, the Alberta Human Rights Commission ordered Alberta pastor Stephen Boissoin to desist from expressing his views on homosexuality in any sort of public forum…He was also commanded to pay damages equivalent to $7,000 as a result of the tribunal’s November decision to side with complainant and homosexual activist Dr. Darren Lund. The tribunal has also called for Boissoin to personally apologize to Lund via a public statement in the local newspaper.” Read the complete article

Mexico City is setting the pace for the rest of the country by enacting laws that legalize gay marriages. The mayor of Mexico City Alejandro Encinas formulated a law that legally recognizes the unions of same sex people in the capital…The law was published Thursday, November 16 [2006] in the Official Gazette of the Federal District, but goes into effect in a 120 days, once the local authorities carry out the necessary administrative and legal changes to carry out the unions. Read complete article

The Bible clearly teaches that the homosexual lifestyle is an abomination in God’s sight, that will inevitably signal the downfall of any country or society, and eternal damnation of those who practice it: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev 21:8) While we need to equally love and pray for the salvation of all sinners irrespective of their transgressions, we must continue to preach the truth at all costs or run the risk of loosing the very freedoms that our forefathers died to defend.

Happy Father’s Day!

The church here in Ensenada is getting ready to celebrate Father’s Day this coming Sunday. A brother in Christ who I will refer to as “Chuy” shared a heart-warming testimony with me today of how God has totally transformed his life since he has been a believer in Christ, and a member of our congregation. He is one of many couples in town that struggle with their past mistakes and family background.

“Chuy” and his mate are not married yet, but they are working on the final stage of the required procedures. Together, they have fathered a child who they are raising in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; both of them bore children by previous partners before ever hearing or obeying the Gospel. Presently, both of them are among the most active in winning others to Christ through their testimony, yet they are acutely aware of their shortcomings and need to honor God’s word in their lives. They need our prayers and counsel to continue to pursue an upward path toward wholeness in their relationship.

Their case is not the exception. Sadly, sexual sin has become the norm for the vast majority of young people in this country. Many couples that I have met while in ministry here in Mexico are already into their second or third marriage, or they are simply living together with their new lover out of wedlock. The prevailing moral bankruptcy has left behind a path of destruction that can only be corrected through the power of the blood of Christ. In some cases, it may even take two or three generations to fully overcome all of the negative consequences of moral failure.

I am getting ready to preach a series of Bible messages on the family that will surely cause a revolution among those that we are able to reach. I will attempt to cover the full range of topics such as romance, courtship, marriage, divorce and re-marriage, and the raising of children. This series will take a long time to go through it, and it may last as long as several years. Nevertheless, I am determined to keep this issue on the front burner for as long as it takes to restore the lives of those caught in the web of sexual sin, and reinstate the commandments of the Lord for the family.

Feel free to share your comments, suggestions, insights, and experience. Also, please keep our own family in your prayers daily as we engage in a spiritual battle of a lifetime for the future of the Mexican family. Remember, strong families produced strong churches!!

Here is an idea! One way to celebrate Father’s Day is for Christian fathers to give special greeting cards to their spouse and children one day before. Express your sincere thoughts of love fore them, and pronounce blessings upon their lives. Pray for them as you write, and ask God to help you to become the kind of parent that they need. Remember, you may not get another chance to do that in this lifetime so why not go ahead and to it today!

No Food, No Family Camp – SPECIAL MISSION UPDATE

Posted in Mission Updates 2008 on June 9, 2008 by filerofish

Dearly beloved in Christ,

Our summer Family Camp in Ensenada, is on of the most important events of the year. For most families and members, it will be the only vacation they will ever have. The majority is self-employed and survives on a meager income that doesn’t even cover their basic expenses, much less any “luxuries” like a family outing. With fuel and food prices soaring out of sight, the possibility of paying for camp is next to none.

Family Camp is a special time for Christian fellowship and study in God’s word. It is also a great opportunity for spiritual renewal and refreshment. As they reflect back on what they have learned and the lasting relationships that have been built, those who have attended previous camps can testify to the fact that this is one of the highlights of the year for them.

Since we do not own a private campground, we must rent a nearby Christian retreat facility that’s relatively inexpensive, compared to the other options out there. The cost per person is $9.00 dollars a day or $36.00 dollars for four days. This fee includes dorms, hot water, the use of a swimming pool, and the kitchen. Other local campsites are more than twice that amount and don’t offer nearly as much.

We have already given the down-payment, but we desperately need at least 12 scholarships and food expenses in order to meet the need. Food items are readily available locally and usually at a better price than what they cost the States. We also have the option of purchasing larger quantities at wholesale prices. Non-perishables such as beans, rice, pastas, canned goods, etc. can be stored until they are needed, but fresh produce, meats, and milk products need to be purchased shortly before camp.

If there is anyway at all that you can help make Family Camp a reality this year, please send your special offerings to Christian Mission for Mexican Evangelism, PO Box 1088, Imperial Beach, CA. 91933. Make sure to add a note with your gift.

THE JOY OF BEING FAITHFUL – MISSION UPDATE

Posted in Mission Updates 2008 on June 5, 2008 by filerofish

Wow, time does fly! It has been 37 years since I first surrendered my life to my Savior Jesus Christ. I was eleven years old then, but the image of that all-important moment has been etched in my mind forever. It was a typical clouded mid-summer day in Ensenada as the entire congregation drove out to Estero Beach, “where the cool waters of the Pacific and the warmth of Baja California create the memories of a lifetime.” I don’t remember if there was anyone else that stepped down into the saltwater pool with me that day, but I do recall that this was a very personal encounter between me and the Lord. Nothing else mattered!

This baptismal service marked the end of a week-long evangelistic campaign held in 1971 at the Colonia Empleados church of Christ – the first church established by my father and Epifanio Gutierrez – and led by brother Feliciano Moreno from the State of Coahuila. Brother Ricardo Ramon was the local preacher; he has gone on to be with the Lord since, but he was the instrument that God chose to assist me in my immersion.

The pool’s muddy bottom made it difficult to remain standing for very long without the support of a stick. Once we had found a firm footing, Ricardo began to give a brief explanation of the Biblical meaning of baptism. After praying, he proceeded to burry me with Christ, and raise me back up to a brand-new life. I remember closing my eyes as I went down into the murky water below. As I was coming up, I opened my eyes to a surreal scene in the sky. The dense cloud cover had been popped open and a bright beam of sunlight was bursting through right above us. No one could have planned it better! God’s grace was shinning down on my life and I was basking in His infinite love and forgiveness. The blessed Holy Spirit took up residence within me and thus began the miraculous transformation of the inner-man. By God’s grace, I have never backslidden or regretted making that decision, or second-guessed my conversion – not even once!

It hadn’t been written yet, but the lyrics of this familiar country song by Randy Travis & Kenny Chesney would have been very apropos:

The summer breeze made ripples on the pond.

It rattled through the reeds, and the willow trees beyond.

Daddy in his good hat,

And mama in her Sunday dress,

Watched with pride as I stood there, in the water up to my chest.

And the preacher spoke about the cleansing blood,

as I sank my toes into that Cool East Texas mud.

Chorus:

And it was down with the old man,

Up with the new.

Raised to walk in the way of light and truth.

I didn’t see no angels, just a few saints on the shore.

But, I felt like a newborn baby,

Cradled up in the arms of the Lord

Amazing Grace, oh how sweet the sound,

There was Glory in the air,

There was dinner on the ground.

And my sins, which were many,

Were washed away and gone,

Along with the Buffalo Nickle,

I forgot to leave at home.

But, that seemed like such a small, small price to pay,

For the blessed peace of mind,

That came to me that day.

*Chorus*

This road is long and dusty, sometimes the soul, it must be cleansed.

And I long to feel that water rushing over me again.

*Chorus*

My first sense of God’s calling on my life happened when I was eight years old. That is when I discovered door-to-door evangelism and tract distribution. I was thirteen when I began to preach. It has been 35 years since I delivered my very first evangelistic sermon that was used of God to save two souls who responded to that invitation. Hundreds of additional lives have been touched through the faithful preaching of the New Testament Gospel. By God’s grace, I have never questioned God’s calling nor have I departed from His purpose for my life, even in the face of danger and even death!

It has been 20 years since my wife and I began a new congregation in my parent’s backyard. There have been many difficult and trying moments in our ministry. Among many other things, we have endured illnesses, ingrates, gossipers, dissenters, false brethren, carnal “Christians”, and church-splits. There have been many times when I have felt a strong urge to throw in the proverbial towel. 2007 and 2008 have been the worst.

Thankfully, we have remained firmly planted where we are, and God has honored our faithfulness. The seeds that were planted years ago by our fathers and forefathers are just now beginning to sprout. New spiritual life is being infused into our church. We are witnessing a marvelous sovereign move of God among us. There is a wind of revival blowing in our midst – a renewed sense of joy of our salvation has taken over! There is a new generation of overcomers rising from the ashes of a burnt-out remnant. Even the children are catching the “bug” and they will surely be the ones to seize the moment for the glory of God!

As a result of prayer and fasting, we have seen our church grow exponentially from a handful of believers to more than thirty – in less than a month! All this without holding any special evangelistic meetings or even any home Bible studies. Brother Bill Pile was right when he insisted that the top priority of the church should always be prayer, first and foremost. Without the raw power of God at work among His people, no amount of planning or programming is going to do a bit of good. But when you let go and let God, some amazing things begin to happen!

Last Wednesday night’s prayer meeting was no exception. We had over 25 people present to witness and celebrate the new birth of Abraham and Claudia, a young couple who just began to come to church about two to three months ago. A couple from our church – Chuy and Carmen Mejia – were instrumental in winning them to Christ through their Christian love and hospitality. I visited Abraham in his home only once, but they were so impressed by that one visit that they decided to start attending church regularly. During this time, they were exposed to some good solid Biblical teaching that transformed their lives for the better.

Abraham has an interesting background. He is your typical rough-n-tough rodeo cowboy type, boots and all. He told me how incensed he was by several previous experiences that he had with sectarian preachers and churches. He warned me in no uncertain terms that he was not gullible, and that he was not going to surrender easily. But knowing God’s awesome power like I do, I began to pray for him and recruited several others in church to join me. Slowly but surely, Abraham began to show signs of braking down under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Last Sunday, both he and Claudia came forward to profess faith in Christ and requested to be baptized. Isn’t God wonderful?

During a previous relationship, Abraham had been exposed to witchcraft and to the world of the occult. During my first conversation with him, he had shared some of his fears with me, and I could tell that he was disturbed by these things. I assured Him that God is infinitely more powerful than any puny created spirit-being, and that when the Holy Spirit indwells a person no other spirit being is allowed to enter. You should have seen the ear-to-ear smile that he had on his face yesterday as he came out of the waters of baptism. I mean, his face lit up like a spotlight and one could tell that he had been released from years of oppression. Praise God!

Before and after the baptisms took place, several of the younger kids and I had a candid conversation about the meaning of this ceremony. It soon became evident that they were really enjoying the celebration and were expressing a keen interest in the obvious implications of making a decision for Christ. Several of them are thinking these things through and I am convinced that a few of them will be baptized soon.

After the service, my wife and I had to visit a funeral home to accompany an acquaintance of ours. We arrived back home at about eleven o clock at night. I went in to give my daughter Kimberly a good-night kiss. Earlier she had exclaimed, “Daddy, this has been the most glorious day ever!” Now for an eight-year-old to have said something like that, you know that God is obviously involved. She had enjoyed the baptisms as much as anyone and her heart had been touched by the simple message that immersion in Christ portrays.

The biblical plan of salvation is as true and relevant today as it was in Jerusalem in 33 A.D. The Bible clearly teaches that we are saved by GRACE, through FAITH, in BAPTISM, for GOOD WORKS. When we begin to mess with that message, that’s when we get into trouble. The broader evangelical world basically teaches that we are saved by grace, through faith, without baptism. The Roman and Orthodox traditions teach that we are saved by our works, through faith, by infused grace. More and more, I am noticing that a rapidly growing number of our “Christian churches” are embracing the evangelical view or some hybrid version of their own making. No wonder churches are being filled with basically unsaved and un-repented sinners who are seeking after a feel-good flash-in-the-pan religious experience, but are entirely unwilling to pay the price of denying self, taking up their cross and following Jesus.

We need to remind ourselves over and over again that God’s plan is always the best one, and that our so-called “improvements” to make that plan more palatable to an un-regenerate sin-sick world can only bring about God’s holy judgment upon us. Therefore, I would like to issue a very serious and urgent call to my American brethren to forsake these and all other false gospels of un-inspired fallible men, and fully embrace once again the true gospel of Christ and his apostles, which is the only one that saves.