"ARISE" is a journal to be published on a quarterly basis. Its aim is to serve as a vehicle for the expression of the Body Of Christ as it relates to present truth. The articles provided are mostly from those of us fellowshipping in the Tampa, Florida area. "ARISE" also publishes pertinent articles of similar concern from those abroad consistent with our general purpose and calling. So now receive the word with all readiness of mind and examine the scriptures every day to see if it is really as we say.
This eleventh issue of "ARISE" features:
I. "Walk In Faith - Rest In Grace" comes from a close friend and
good teacher of the Word, Romeo
Corsini. In this article, we find ourselves challenged with the connection of faith and grace. Brother Romeo and his wife Christine has three little girls, they reside in Brandon (Tampa), FL.
II. "Broken Nets And The Unbroken Net" comes from a dear friend,
Dr. Jack Jacobsen. Brother Jack
provides us with a comparison of the gospel Luke, chapter five to John, chapter twenty-one. He and his wife Marjorie reside near the Minneapolis, MN area where they co-pastor the Arise and Shine Fellowship. They are also active several months of the year in New Port Richey, FL.
III. "Have The Faith Of God" provides a basic, elementary, entry
level "Christianity 101" teaching to better understand the doctrine
of faith. A close examination of scripture helps us to rightly
discern between soulish thoughts and spiritual to this misunderstood subject.
IV. "God's 911" brings to us a creative, yet practical way of viewing
the abiding presence of God. This
article has been submitted to us by a good friend and able minister, Chuck Weller. He and his wife Joyce live in Hilliard (Columbus), Ohio.
V. "A Brief History Of The Church (600 AD - 15000 AD)" comes again from both friend and church history scholar, Dr. Jack Jacobsen. Brother Jack continues to guide us through highlights of the history of the church in this second of three articles.
VI. "Pressure's Purpose" is a beautiful (and timely) inspirational
poem submitted to us by Sister Lori
Renee Inge. Lori and her husband Michael Ray Inge are ministers of the Word of God, traveling
abroad teaching the Body of Christ. They are participants of Present Truth Ministries, pastored by Stephen Everett in Cape Coral, FL.
VII. "Early Carnival Rides" art work on the back cover has been provided
by a close friend and ex-
cellent brother, Chuck Yex. He and his wife Morida live in the Orlando (St. Cloud), FL area. They have a beautiful little girl named Moriah.
We thank those reading the journal and pray that you continue to be refreshed by the insights herein shared by various ministers. We appreciate the letters and positive response towards our labour in teaching the body of Christ. May His kingdom be forever established in your heart and demonstrated in your outward expression. We encourage you to share with others what has been given to us by the Spirit of revelation and confirmed in holy script. We desire not a reputation nor do we seek our own glory. We preach Jesus Christ, the wonderful salvation of all men.
In His Service
Timothy David and Melissa Carroll
"A R I S E" is free to all as God's way is "Freely you have
received, freely give". We trust God to lay it upon the hearts of those
He chooses to provide the means for printing and sending out this journal. The
mailing address is listed on the front cover for those interested in receiving
the journal on a regular basis. Additional copies are available upon request.
Notification of change of address is appreciated.
Walk In Faith - Rest In Grace
God is not hard to please. He just wants that we see things his way. He sees everything accomplished and it is good in his sight. This is the walk of faith: living according to the grace of God and not according to the law of God. His grace requires you to be humble - the law requires you to be condemned. It's much like the calculator and the computer. First there was the calculator--the law. Then there was the computer--the grace. With the calculator, you punch in the numbers and, right or wrong, good or bad, you're stuck with the end result; that's what will print. But with a computer you can do the same thing, but you can correct what needs changing and then press the print button to end up with the result you wanted. The computer didn't do away with the calculator in order to achieve the end result. It incorporated the calculator. That's much like the grace of God: it did not do away with the law; but what it did was allow for everything to end up fixed and perfect before it pushed the print button to end up with the result. The calculator condemns you to your mistakes while the computer has lots of room to grow and change and become perfect. That's the grace of God; giving us the opportunity to develop, get to know him more and become more and more like him. Grace requires you to be confident in what and who you are; law insists that you keep trying to become perfect.
Now, there has to be an end to it sometime. It ends with Jesus Christ; and if it doesn't end with Jesus, then where does it end? With you? Are you perfect? Can you stand in the place of someone else and cover their imperfections so they don't show? With what would you cover them? With your perfection? You don't have a perfection. Jesus has a perfection and it is the grace of God that equates his perfection with your unworthiness. He by his grace shares his own perfection to make you equal to his son. If it were the law that would bring us to perfection, then we all would have to achieve the sinless life of Christ, tempted, yet sinless, individually, from the beginning. The spirit teaches us that that is impossible. Because, as long as we have emotions, we will sin with them, unless we learn what God is teaching us: He took care of walking in perfection: we must take care of walking in faith.
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:1-9.
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:11-13.
Verse eleven is walking in faith. What walking in faith declares is that I am in control of how I will react and behave in my circumstance. (Verse 12).
God has brought my emotions to my attention. He tells me that I don't have to throw away my emotions; my lust, my envy, my jealousy, my greed, etc. After all, He gave them to me. But He tells me that I must manage them. Feelings are normal. But I must take control. They must not control me. Control -- don't vent.
Ephesians 4:26, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath." Be in control. What is delicate about emotions is that they can easily make us feel condemned. That is contrary to the word of God. Now God tells us that we should stay convicted instead of condemned. Emotions are there to drag us around if we allow them; to make us come out and force us to behave the way they are. Emote means to come out, to act out. But I'm learning that that walk of faith is constant and consistent; peaceable and teachable. You can tell the legalists from the 'gracers'. The legalist is a judge condemning and criticizing. The 'gracer' always gives way to faith, believing that 'this too shall pass'. It'll be alright. He's usually the one that legalists can't stand, or poke fun at or are bored by. You see, the legalist lives by flesh. The man of grace lives by the spirit. Our job is to take control.
Matthew 26:41, "Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." There is no condemnation there. There is only truth. Nothing to get legalistic about. Just take control. In some cases, you'll find you don't want to. But the more you give way to the Spirit, the stronger your faith will grow, to where you won't be bothered by your nor by other's weaknesses, but you'll be rejoicing over the strengths.
Psalm 92:12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. God wants us to be stable like trees. The righteous are not those who do not sin; they are those who walk in faith, in grace, in control, in Spirit. The trees are marred and bruised by their environment; they show the signs of wear and tear; yet they stay planted and rooted and trust that that is what will keep them growing, not the fact that they are forever trying to dodge all the temptations of the weather. We must learn to look beyond what we've been saved from and learn to look at what we've been saved unto. We've been saved from anger, fights, thefts, hate, sorrow, etc. But let's not look at those, not in ourselves nor in others. We've been saved unto mercy, forgiveness, patience, understanding, kindness, love: all the fruit of the Spirit.
Romans 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is the circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
We can say it this way: He is not a Jew by works which is in the flesh. But by Spirit, developing one self to be more like Jesus in order to succeed in the flesh. Sometimes, we have the cart before the horse. We try living for the Lord by trying not to do bad. Well, that's fine if we're strong enough in the Spirit first. Take a nurse or a doctor. If a doctor started doctoring just based solely on the fact that that's what he wanted to do with all his heart, 99% of all his patients would suffer some drastic results. He has to train first, go to school, learn, get it down real deep, where he knows it through and through before he takes on the challenge. He has to be confident first, knowing that no matter what, healing is going to be the result one way or the other. We are no different. We ought to remain in Jerusalem first until we are endued with power from on high.
Romans 3:20 "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." The law merely says that I can't do it. That's saying that my trying hard not to shout, not to become angry, to hold it all in and say nothing should tell me that I can't do it. It won't last. That's not where my righteousness is. He justifies those that are still guilty.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (Romans 6:1) The grace of God does cover us even now while we are guilty; (but that does not mean, God forbid, that we should continue to sin. We must be faithful to the righteousness of the Christ.)
"What shall we say then, that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Romans 4:1-8.
"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk
not after the flesh, but after the
Spirit." Romans 8:4 Righteousness has nothing to do with never failing in the flesh, but with walking in the spirit, in faith, in charge, knowing who I am in him, perhaps better said, in a constant attitude of repentance.
"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Romans 8:9.
John 3:30 He must increase but I must decrease. The order of this verse is important. As I let the spirit flow from me, as I more and more walk in the spirit, I'll find myself more and more conforming to his image and it won't have been the fact that I didn't steal, that I didn't lie, shout, kill. It will have been that the spirit fashioned me according to His image. You don't get rid of the flesh to get the spirit. You exercise the spirit and he gets rid of the flesh. Luke 18:10-14 "Thank you God that I am not like this other guy. I don't do this and I don't do that." The Lord said that the sinner who acknowledged his faults and fell at the mercy of God, without judging his neighbor, by the way, went away justified.
Our eyes must shift from looking at life and the world through the window of the law and, without being afraid, we must begin looking through the window of the grace of God, leaving it to him to judge. His whole point is telling us that we have enough to do with ourselves. When we get fixed, we'll discover so many other things get fixed right along with us.
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his tresspass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that hath he commited, he shall surely live, he shall not die." --Ezekiel 18:20-28
Can there be a continual walk of faith without a continual attitude of repentace? Clearly, the objective of the heart of God is to form the heart of man like unto his own. His mercy demonstrates this. Show me a man aware of his humble state before God and I will show you a man after God's own heart. "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." -Ezekiel 18:30-32 God is not in the funeral business; he is in the nursery business. God does not bury; he plants. The purpose for planting is to produce growth. Along with planting is fertilizing. Would God expect growth from us if he did not also provide food for growth?
Let his revelation of his word unto us as we walk in faith rejoicing for his grace strengthen us against our flesh and raise us into spiritual giants for his glory! Let his faith show us to know that he is better interested that we succeed in our journey to becoming like him than in failing his resolve. He will finish that work that he began in his creation and all men shall declare that he is God.
Broken Nets And The Unbroken Net
When I have read the accounts of the Disciples catching fish in Luke, chapter five and in John, chapter twenty-one, my attention is riveted on the two phrases, "and their net broke" (Luke 5:6) and in John, "the net was not broken" (John 21:11).
The account in Luke took place prior to Jesus' Resurrection and in John, the event took place after the Resurrection of our Lord. As I indulge in the luxury of symbolism, I view the Luke account as the Lord committing unto converted mankind the ministry of the church during this era of present time. The Lord has honored the ministry of various denominations of Christendom for nearly two thousand years.
And yet, as we read in Luke 5:6 about the catch of the multitude of fish, we see that through the years, many souls of mankind have come into the Salvation of the Lord. But there are broken nets during the time of man's sovereignty exhibited in the denominations. While many souls are won to Jesus Christ through the preaching of the Word of God, yet other souls are lost to the message and the "nets break".
While the author of this article was a Pastor in the Lutheran Church and has served as Pastor in Lutheran churches, he has been "torn in his heart" when he has seen the "tears in the Lutheran net." It does not take long in the ministry of the Word of God to see the tears in the net. And the same goes for every church organization as far as the imperfections of the ministry under man's control. THERE IS NO PERFECT CHURCH ORGANIZATION IN THIS PRESENT ERA OF TIME SINCE PENTECOST. The nets of every religious organization will have torn nets.
Perhaps it is the "tares" in the Kingdom of Heaven which cause the tears in the religious nets of men.
The account in John, chapter twenty-one, gives a different account of the catch
of the fish. In this chapter, Jesus comes to His own as the Resurrected Christ
in His Glory! Again, Jesus comes to His own after a time of
failure; the failure to catch fish as given to both accounts. In John, chapter 21, Jesus tells His Disciples to cast the net on the right side of the boat. The term, right, indicates authority in the Kingdom of God. Psalm 98:1 "O sing unto the Lord a new song: for He hath done marvellous things: His right hand, and His Holy Arm hath gotten Him the victory." Stephen in Acts, chapter 7, verse 55, "saw the Glory of God and Jesus standing on the 'right hand" of God." When Bathsheba came to see King Solomon, her son, Solomon had his mother sit at his right hand. I Kings 2:19.
The account in John, chapter 21, ends with a great catch of fish; one hundred fifty three as reported by the Holy Spirit in verse 11. ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THREE. Again, the luxury of symbolism. Some say that this number indicates the number of the "sons of God". Other commentaries state that there were one hundred fifty three nations at that time. The NET is not broken in this account. In the time of the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus in the next age, all the sons of God will come in first and then those sons will be the nets which will bring into the Kingdom of God on earth the nations of the world. Then, there shall be One Lord and One World under His authority. In His High Priestly Prayer, Jesus prayed that His Disciples "all may be ONE; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be ONE in US: that the WORLD may believe that Thou hast sent Me." John 17:21.
The ministry of this hour is to the "sons"; the "firstfruits" , uniting them into ONE BODY.
When the Author of the Book of Hebrews refers to the "body" prepared for Christ to be used for the supreme sacrifice for the salvation of the world, prophetically, this could refer to the present Body of sons to be used by the Lord for the ministry of reconciliation of the world back to God. See Hebrews 10:5 and I Corinthians 15:22-28. In the Corinthian account, we see the "catch" of mankind from the beginning to the end under the authority of Jesus and His co-workers (sons) who are involved in bringing the "word of reconciliation" to the world.
In both accounts, we see the effect upon Peter with the blessing of success of the large catch of fish. In Luke, we see the response of Peter in Chapter 5, verse 8 when he says, "Depart from me, I am a sinful man." In John, chapter 21 and verse 7, when Peter saw the Lord Who had blessed them with the success of the catch, Peter has to cover himself in the presence of the Lord. Peter has removed his clothes when he fished since clothes could be cumbersome and could interfere in the activity of fishing. But now, Peter wanted to cover himself. What a picture of us. When we come into the Presence of the Lord, we want a covering. When Isaiah in Chapter 6 tells of seeing the Lord, he cries out, "woe is me, for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts".
The world today is looking for a covering. They are aware of their spiritual nakedness before the Almighty. The world will use "religions", materialism and sin for a covering. But you and I need to meet the Lord at the time of our departure from this earth into His Presence with the covering provided for us in our Lord Jesus Christ. I do not want to meet the Lord clothed in my righteousness, i.e. my filthy rags. I do not want to meet the Lord wrapped in the robes of Lutheranism, Roman Catholicism , Buddhism, Islamism, or in any other robe of denominationalism. Martin Luther had tried for years to find a suitable robe of righteousness with his good works. He fasted, he beat himself, he went to confession to often that he wearied his confessors. But it was one day as he studied the Scriptures that he say the 'rhema' Word of the Lord that stated in Romans 1:17 that the "Just shall live by faith." Luther wrote in the margin of the Bible by that verse, the word, "ALONE." Later, Luther wrote these words after his spiritual experience, "The One Expression, the Righteousness of God is the righteousness whereby through Grace and Sheer Mercy, God justifies us by Faith, thereupon I was born again and have gone through the doors into Paradise. This righteousness that Luther found came in the year of 1508. It was not until 1517 that Luther expressed that righteousness with his 96 Thesis (statements) which emphasized to a decadent church the need for REFORM and a return from work-righteousness to Christ righteousness.
Paul tells us in Romans 2:4, that "the goodness of the Lord leads us to REPENTANCE. When Peter saw the success in the catch of fish in Luke and in John accounts, he was humbled, thankful, and had the spirit of repentance. As we recount the many blessings of the Lord in our lives, we want and practice daily thankfulness and repentance also.
In the account from John's Gospel, we see the enthusiastic Peter who leaps into the waters. He wants to go to the Lord. This interesting "tidbit" reminds us of the time when Peter saw the Lord walking upon the waters. This account is given in Matthew 14:28 where Peter asks the Lord to allow him to walk to Jesus. Jesus bids him to come and Peter enters the water and begins to walk to Jesus. But as Peter looks at the waves and the wind, he becomes afraid and begins to sink. It is then that Peter cries out to the Lord for help and he is given help to continue his walk with Jesus on the waters. In both accounts, the waters were no barrier to Peter in his desire to be with the Lord. Land or water would be no barrier for Peter in his desire to be with the Lord Whom he loved.
This account in John's Gospel ends with the Lord asking Peter three times if he loved Him. Peter responds three times of his love and devotion for Jesus. This was a time for healing by Jesus for Peter. Peter had denied his Lord three times and was grief strickened. The wounds of his denial of Jesus at the crucial trial time of Jesus still caused an ache in the heart and soul of Peter. Jesus forgave Peter and Jesus restores Peter with the threefold question, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?" And Peter replies three times with the answer, "Yes, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee." The broken spiritual net of Peter was being mended and made whole by Jesus as He asks Peter three times to declare his love for the Master.
And with a restored Peter, God was able to use this fisherman to be a fisher of souls beginning on the day of Pentecost and continuing in the book of Acts ending with Peter introducing the Gospel to the House of Cornelius and Gentiles. The book of Acts is all Peter from chapter two to ten and then Paul is the focus from that point to the end of the book of Acts.
Our imperfect broken nets............so revealed in this present church age which stumbles and struggles trying to win souls and often loosing more than what we gain.
The Lord's perfect NET which will be revealed in the millennial age and the ages following the millenium when the Lord will bring into the Kingdom of God all souls.
................. Dr. Jack E. Jacobsen
Have The Faith Of God
Our understanding of a subject is vital to our spiritual growth, for if our point of origination is not accurate, then greater is our risk in having error along the way. To this very thought, I am compelled to share on perhaps one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented topics found in the Christian Church of today - "faith". Before I begin, permit me to state that my purpose is not aimed at tearing down and destroying misconceptions one may have regarding our subject simply leaving a person empty, void and barren. Rather my goal is to replace any false ideas with something far better, with something of substance which will increase your faith and enrich your spiritual life. As taught by the prophet Jeremiah, we must also "root out, and pull down, and destroy, and throw down...". Yet likewise, we are also "to build, and to plant". It is with this very intent I pray to edify and encourage those reading this article.
Much damage has been done to the body of Christ by teachers of the Word of God as they lead many astray into false hopes, expectations and dreams. These supposed men of learning often persuade the unlearned congregation to lay hold of promises and to "make-believe" that God will perform some act or miracle the people so desperately desire. Most often the need is either a financial or a physical healing, yet regardless of the need, these men usually have the same method to their efforts to obtain the blessing. They pray loud and long, shouting and jumping up and down trying to whip up enough faith to make the phenomenon occur. And if the blessing is not evident, well then their answer is rather simple. The poor, unskilled believer is accused of lacking enough faith or not having believed. "Where is your faith? Just believe, don't hinder the blessing of God!". Sound familiar? Sure, it does. Just turn on any Christian television program and you will hear it.
To such methods and tactics we reject and therefore refuse to bow. We must cast aside and pull down such practices of the religious carnal mind and raise a standard of righteousness. To draw an interesting comparison to many of these preachers, we draw an illustration from I Kings, chapter 18. Here we read that the prophet Elijah confronted the children of Israel to follow either the Lord or Baal, whoever was the true God. However, the people would not answer Elijah. Therefore to demonstrate who served God, he issued a challenge to the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Both the prophets of Baal and Elijah were to prepare a bullock and put it on the altar of sacrifice without fire under it. Then the prophets were to call upon the name of their gods and Elijah his God, and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. To this challenge the people answered - it is well spoken.
So the story goes on that the prophets of Baal called upon the name of Baal all day and night, yet there was no response. So they leaped upon the altar and continued their crying and shouting. At this point, Elijah mocked them and said, Cry louder, perhaps your god is talking or on a journey or even sleeping. The prophets even went to the extreme of cutting themselves and continued to prophesy, yet nothing happened. Then Elijah told the people to come near him. He repaired the altar that the prophets had broken down. He also made a trench around the altar and filled it with water and had the children of Israel pour water upon the burnt sacrifice and altar.
Elijah then said, "Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me.......... Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God". (I Kgs 18:37-39). Do the prophets of Baal look familiar to you? Perhaps you have been exposed to such an exercise. Maybe you're sitting under a ministry engaged in a similar religious practice. Even worse, maybe you yourself are operating under this mind-set. If so, then take heed and learn this hour. Learn that the man of sin which now sits in your temple is being exposed of his way and religious exploits.
So what was the true basis of Elijah's faith? Was he such a great man of faith that anything he asked would be done? Would any command uttered from his lips result in a miracle? Did Elijah have to only claim, lay hold, seize or appropriate his own wish or desire? Perhaps he had the gift of fire and was trying to hold his first miracle crusade or signs and wonders camp meeting. No dear reader, the scriptures are clear in providing us with an answer. The truth is that his faith rested solely upon the word given to him from God. Read it again, "......... let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word." Here was the secret to Elijah's faith. It was AT THY WORD!
And what about our faith? Dare we think for one minute that we by our own command can have the ability to call fire down from heaven as Elijah, or part the red sea as Moses, or perform any other supernatural task simply because we've read it of another in the Bible? Isn't this what is taught by most faith preachers? Isn't it as simple as asking for anything our little old heart desires and it's ours to get? Shouldn't we come together and jump up and down upon the altar and shout for long periods of time to get God's attention and receive His blessing? Maybe when making of our request we ought to raise the decibel a notch or two just in case He is near deaf or is asleep and must be awaked. Perhaps our belief is lacking and we need to exert more faith or claim it harder or seize it quicker. Maybe we ought to take a different approach. Lets raise our level of consciousness and think it into existence. Let us take our natural thinking and change it to where we either deny that the need exists or deceive ourselves into thinking that we have obtained the blessing in some bizarre, yet disguised and veiled way. And if all else fails, maybe our last resort is for the elders to cut themselves as those of Baal and believe just a little more than what they have in the past, then maybe the attention of God will be won and the sacrifice burned on the altar. O' foolish religious man! We all ought to ask ourselves the question, 'Is my faith an exercise in futility or is it according to a direct word spoken to my heart by God. Is my faith based upon my own wish and desire or on what God has personally bid me to do.'
To further illustrate, read the wise words written by Brother Ray Prinzing, 'True faith always presupposes a divine revelation as its basis. "By faith Abraham when he was called, went out ..." His going was motivated by a CLEAR WORD FROM THE LORD. "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee." (Genesis 12:1). He had received a glimpse of God's plan, but not a total revelation all in one glorious moment. There was that needful word for the present, and then the promise that "I WILL SHEW THEE," as God revealed to him, by degrees, as he went. On those occasions when he acted "out of himself" with his own scheming, reasoning, it was disastrous, and brought him much sorrow and grief." - endquote.
Holy script would teach us that ".....faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17). The word 'faith' in this verse comes from a Greek word pistis which means persuasion, credence, or conviction. The word is also connected with the idea to assent or have a testimony of another. Can we see that our persuasion, our conviction, our testimony or our faith does not come from ourselves but rather from another. Paul writes that it comes through hearing and hearing by the word of God. And as the stories of Elijah and Abraham have illustrated, it is by the hearing of THE WORD OF GOD. Indeed, it is at His word that we have the confidence and assurance to proceed, it is by divine impartation into our hearts and minds that we can trust, believe, or have faith to continue and know that the very thing required will be accomplished. Not because we wish it to be so. Not by our own faith. No, never. But because He has given us a personal answer. A specific revelation to our heart, AT HIS WORD!
This thought continues throughout holy script. In fact, we are taught that it is not by our own efforts or faith in which we are justified but rather by THE FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST. "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ....." (Gal. 2:16). Several other statements in scripture bear witness to this very thought, "......being justified by faith" (Rom. 5;1), "......we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Rom. 3:28), ".....that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth ('pistis' or faith) in Jesus" or better translated "a Justifier of the one who is of THE FAITH OF JESUS." (Rom. 3:26). The apostle Paul clearly wrote that the basis of our justification is not by our own faith but rather the faith of another.
In fact, the very life in which we live is not by our own faith but by THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD. (ref. Gal 2:20). Certainly, we are to live by faith as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (Rom. 1:17). Habakkuk 2:4 states, "....but the just shall live by his faith". Notice where and in whom our faith is found. Once again, it is not by our own faith but rather HIS FAITH. The gospel according to Mark demonstrates this same idea. In chapter eleven we find where Jesus had pronounced a curse against a barren fig tree. The next day the disciples had noticed the dried tree and Peter inquired of the Lord, "Behold the fig tree which thou cursedest is withered away". Jesus answered, "Have faith in God". The original states more accurately, "HAVE (the) FAITH OF GOD". This lays the foundation for His next statement, ".....that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be cast into the sea; and shall not doubt...... he shall have whatsoever he saith". Whether it is the moving of a mountain, or calling fire from heaven, or parting a sea, or simply knowing what direction to take in a particular situation, it is possible to believe when God has spoken it! This is THE FAITH in which we are to obey.
The Bible teaches that God has dealt to man their measure or portion of faith, "as God to each has distributed a measure of faith." (Rom. 12:3 Diaglott), and again, "as God parts to each the measure of faith." (12:3 CV). (It is also worth noting that the 'each' spoken of in this verse refers to the 'every man among you' in the context of the story and not necessarily to each and every man that lives on this earth). In chapter twelve of the same epistle, it continues to read, "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;". The Greek word used for 'proportion' is analogia which comes from two other greek words - ana and logos. Putting these two words together, we get the idea of 'intensity of divine expression or utterance'. In other words, the 'proportion of faith' translates to the 'intensity and expression out of the persuasion of Christ'. Praise the Lord! This is the very credence in which we ought to be established, "Rooted and built up in him, and stablised in the faith". This is the assurance in which we are risen with him, ".....through the faith of the operation of God". This is the confidence in which God hath chosen you to be delivered, "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief ('pistis' or faith) of the truth". And this is God-given faith "for all men have not faith." (II Thes. 3:2).
Similarly, Abraham was offered the opportunity to hurry the fulfillment of God's promise to him when Sarah suggested that he father a child by Hagar. So often we too, in our impatience and weakness of faith, want to help God fulfill His promises to us. I am sure we can all draw our own personal illustrations, especially when the need is great and our patience short and faith small. We see this on every side of us, from those wanting the riches of the kingdom of God under the disguise of "prosperity and wealth", to those pressing towards the deeper walk of sonship yet trapped in the subtle metaphysical and mind/science doctrines to think, believe and confess themselves into the fullness of God. Yet scripture would teach us to "labour not to be rich" (Prov. 23:4), "He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye" (Prov. 28:22) and "which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?" (Matt. 6:27).
Brother J. Preston Eby so aptly writes, "Since it is true that faith is produced by someone outside of oneself, it follows that faith in God is not something that you and I "decide" to have or are able to conjure up. It is our Lord, Himself, who must produce faith in the apprehended ones. It is not something that is initiated by us as a result of our desire to "have faith" in God or His promises. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." (Heb. 12:2). God is the source and originator of our faith! There is no such thing as "our faith" or "my faith" apart from GOD'S FAITH. Our faith is merely the faith that God has given us - the faith that HE has evoked in us by the revelation of Himself to us. And - "it is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God." - endquote.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb 11:1). Faith is the 'substance'. The Greek word for 'substance' is hupostasis and means confidence or essence. It is with this same substance that we are made partakers of Christ. It was the same word that the writer of Hebrews wrote, "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.
So we conclude that it is FAITH, given by the grace of God, which is able to frame the ages, subdue kingdoms, bring righteousness, obtain promises, out of weakness make strong, make thee whole and save. Faith should not be self-created but rather is God-given. We ought to examine ourselves, whether we be of this faith, proving ourselves to be led by the Spirit and called the sons of God.
In every major city in the United States there is a toll free number that can be called in the event of a serious emergency. All the children learn the number in school. It is 911. Dial 911 and the operator will dispatch immediately to your location any assistance that is needed - medical, the fire department, even the SWAT force. I am pleased to announce that God has a far superior method which produces far better results at less cost and lasts for an eternity. Have you used it? Perhaps, I might explain how to implement God's 911 service. First, you must memorize Psalms 91:1. In order to help you with that, let me quote that verse: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Let me try to explain the power of life in that verse.
The word translated "dwell" in the KJV has as a meaning the following: dwell down in, inhabit, continue, tarry in and remain. In the 1960's bean bags were very popular. I had one and you could manipulate a bag into any shape that was comfortable for you. Oh, it was so relaxing when you created the perfect fit. Well, to "dwell down in" has such a connotation to it. Some might use that old expression "hunkering down" or to be totally relaxed in the arms of God, even as a baby bird settles down in the nest filled with soft feathers, or as a newborn child upon leaving the womb seeks a place of refuge and is placed on the mother's bosom. What a refuge our God is when we dwell down in His nature rather than the fallen Adamic nature with which we were birthed. If you struggle with that old, dead Adamic nature, dial 911.
To dwell down in the secret place of God is to dwell in the nature of Christ and not identify with the fallen Adamic nature. Adam was destroyed by the cross. Only the new creation man lives. Dwelling in Him creates an opportunity for the saint to give life. Dwelling in the Adamic nature only caused death to be manifested.
Jesus told the disciples to give the crowd that followed them something to eat. They gave what was available, that is, they drew from where they were dwelling. It matters not how much you have, because it will be enough for the situation. As you give what you have, what you have is enlarged. The disciples had a few loaves and ended with 12 bushel baskets left over. Dwelling down in God means that you draw the life of that place out of you as you draw water out of a well, a spiritual well that never runs dry. How a small child will easily give of what he has to another. It matter not what the child has. The child gives out of what he is. Adults many times give out because it is expected, or if they come from the faith move they sometimes give by faith believing more will given. Adults sometimes do not give because they see themselves empty with nothing to give. But when you are in Christ, even as a babe, you give out of where your heart dwells, even as a small child does. To dwell down in God implies you understand His heart and are motivated by His heart not by your own understanding of spiritual principles nor by your physical situation. The disciples, when told to feed the multitude, did as Jesus asked, not concerned whether or not the loaves and fishes would be enough. They had dwelt long enough with Jesus to dwell down in His being and just do what the Master asked.
"To dwell" also means to "inhabit". Scripture declares that our life is hid with God in Christ (Colossians 3:3). Inhabit has many synonyms one of which means to populate. Do you increase the Lord's nature in you when you "inhabit" Him? I would think that you do> for the more time that you spend dwelling in Him, the more you put on His nature. The more of His nature you have, the enemy can't touch you. Consider 1 John 5:18. I liken "inhabit' to this story. A friend came to the house and as he visited the man who owned the house, the man gave his friend the key for the front door . The homeowner told his friend that his house was now open to him at any time and he could feel free to come and relax, put his feet up, sip an iced tea and watch TV at his convenience. to dwell in the secret place of the Most High is to be in Him and to be comfortable in Him. This requires that you know your way around Him. After all, if the devil were chasing you and you didn't know the way into the secret place, it would not do you much good would it? Yes, to inhabit the Lord requires a deep knowing of His nature so that you can feel comfortable residing in the secret lace. Remember you have to know the phone number before you use it, and you also have to know how to use the phone. Better practice dialing 911, just like the children do.
To "dwell" in also means to "continue in." This means that you never spiritually leave, but as your life goes on you move with the changes of the natural plane by being within the secret place. The changes of life are bearable as one "continue in" the Lord; however, the changes of life are unbearable if we dwell in the old fallen Adamic nature. Let us continue to go on and know the Lord. What a secret place this is because He ever enlarges Himself to us. The word "dwell" also has within it the word "tarry". This means to desire to stay even though there is a pull to go out from the secret place. Do not leave the secret place. There is no need to leave because all that He is is available to you from being in Him. For God's SWAT force, the angels of God are around you and the saints encompass us about. God is our armor (Ephesians 6) and He is even our rear-ward("rearguard" Isaiah 58:8). His glory shall cover us as we reside in Him.
You dial 911 for the fire department. Our God calls us to hide in Him, in the fire which He is. The best way to fight a forest fire is with fire! Adam is burning in this day of the Lord (2 Peter 3:10-18), as the old nature is consumed by the brightness of His coming in us. Dwell in God, call 911 and the fire will not consume you but will cause Him to be revealed in you even as in Daniel 3:25. Fire cannot hurt you if you dwell in Him, but some saints squeal just a little at the fire. Why? Because the Adamic nature is alive since the saint did not fully dwell in the Lord. but the Lord knew that and that is why He gave the fire - to drive the saint into Him. God is our rescuer as well as the person causing the flame. His Love constrains Him to cause us to become like Him.
The first time the word "dwell" is used in the Bible is found in Genesis 4:16 where Cain fled from home and dwelt in the land of Nod which means a place of exile or wandering . So, Cain dwelt in the state of exile and wandered all of his life. Just the opposite is found in our Lord and Savior. We can snuggle up to Him and He will draw nigh to us with the warmth of a mother. He will sit with us, as it were with facing the warmth of a fireplace with His arms around us, His bride as we dwell in Him. but the exiled person never feels at home and is always looking to return to the homeland. But the saint who dwells in God has been translated from darkness (Colossians 1:16) into the kingdom of the Son who is the light of men. The exiled person is never happy. Have you ever found an unsaved person who is truly happy? Yet, many are the Christians who live outside the secret place and are unhappy because they have not entered into Him to dwell in Him. Oh, to dwell in Him! What a joyous experience.
"For in the time of trouble, He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; he shall set me upon a rock" (Psalm 27;5). Here the word "tabernacle" in the root stem means to shine. Perhaps we could say: "in the secret of His shining shall He hide me...." You see to dwell in God means to dwell in the Light in which there is no darkness at all. So, the shining is the glory of God, that beautiful light of life in which there is no death. To be set upon the rock means that He has lifted you out of the miry clay and placed you on the sure foundation who is none other than Christ Jesus. The Spirit of God places us in Christ so that no man can glory, and God is lifted up.
The placing of us in the light, removed from the Adamic which is in death and darkness, is done at the time of salvation. But the newborn saint weak in Christ but strong in the carnal mind still walks in darkness not realizing the fullness has come (John 1:16, Ephesians 1;23, Colossians 1:19; 2:9). The time of trouble is the struggle to recognize that we were crucified with Him and now are alive in him. Paul writes of the struggle in Romans 7. God hides us in His pavilion, His tent, which we are since we were purchased, redeemed by the blood of our kinsman. Our bodies are no longer our own but His. He resides in heaven and makes His abode there (John 14:23). That place is in us (Luke 17:21). To think that He dwells in us as we dwell in Him. There is a statement of unity.
The word "dwell" is a verb. It is an action verb, not a passive verb. Something that is passive can have something done to it. But the opposite is that which is active. If something is active, it means that it causes something to be done. "Dwell" represents an action. Yet, it goes further than that. The verb is present tense which indicates a continuous abiding, an unbroken dwelling. "To dwell" in the secret place of the Most high means that the new creation man never leaves that realm of living. Now, the Christian might question that but the reason the question arises is that the Christian is not living in His inheritance - who is God. The lie of the Adamic nature colors the understanding of the saint. We must remove the rose colored glasses from our eyes and enter into the marvelous light of the Christ life.
In Revelation 12:12 the KJV states: "Therefore rejoice ye heavens, and ye that dwell therein...' Here again the word expresses that some live (active sense, present tense) in heaven which is not a literal place somewhere in the sky but the realm of the Spirit, a place of spiritual habitation. Thayer's Lexicon brings out that the word "dwell" in the Greek means: "to fix one's tabernacle, have one's tabernacle, abide or live in." The verb is present tense which indicates a statement of fact, an ongoing reality that is occurring. It is in the active voice which represents the subject as the doer of it. This indicates that "dwelling" has in it that one creates (fixes) a house which would correspond with John 14:2 where Jesus said that He was leaving to "prepare" a place that where He was we could also be. He, Jesus, is building us a house, whereas in times past David built Him one. As we make our life in God, the two become one even as in a marriage, and we help Him build the corporate house (in my Father's house are many mansions).
Not only does this New Testament word in Revelation 12:12 mean to "fix", it also means to "have one's tabernacle." The concept here is that the individual possesses the tabernacle. Psalm 139:13 states that God has possessed the reins of David. The word "reins" in the KJV has the connotation of the natural genital area, but the NAS generally translates the word "reins" as "mind". Since most of our actions are produced out of the mind, God has even possessed that. So, to have "one's tabernacle" is to possess it, allowing God to produce the life out of your vessel that He might be glorified. "To dwell" in the secret place is to be in union with God, permitting Him to produce out of you the very revelation of Himself while you rest in the work that He is doing within you.
In Psalm 27:4 we find that David had one desire - to dwell in the house of the Lord. While David sought to build a house for the Lord, Jesus sought to destroy such a house concept (Mark 14:58-59) by revealing that He was the house. David looked with the natural eye, but yearned in the Spirit for the truth. Today we have the truth of the dwelling revealed and many seek the natural, being carnally minded. How David wished to spend all his days in the presence of God. We can spend all our days in His presence by fulfilling Romans 8:1, and yet many fail to appropriate what is their inheritance. If you would have only the desire of the Lord, then you will experience such a presence - dwelling in the House of the Lord.
But who is the house of our Lord? God is preparing a place there (John 14:2). While we know it is in each individual, we need not to be selfish and only appropriate it for ourselves. Rather the picture is enormously larger than that. God is creating a corporate house - made up of many mansions. Dwelling is far greater than when we first believed. Luke 1:17 states that John the Baptist went out in the power of the spirit of Elijah. People who believe in reincarnation use this as biblical proof, which it is not. But there is a truth there to be seen. When we dwell in him, since He is the God of the living, all time is done away in Him. Within Him who is within us are the spirits of the brethren on both sides of the river of life (Revelation 22:1-2). When God created John the Baptist, He gave him the spirit of Elijah, not Elijah the man. Beloved, when we possess our tabernacle, we are empowered by a cloud of witnesses who encourage us to manifest Him in the tabernacle, the dwelling.
Revelation 21:3 "the tabernacle of God is "with" men and He will dwell with them." Note that He will dwell with them. The same word used in Revelation 12:12. Again the idea is that all are one in Him. He not only prepares the dwelling, but He is the dwelling and makes each individual a part of the whole dwelling through the corporate body of Christ. I have written all this so far just to come to the next few points.
Our dwelling place is in the other brethren. The dwelling place of the brethren is in you. How well do you dwell in someone else without bringing discomfort to them? Do they let you in? They should because they are in Him, but if they do not open themselves up for you to enter into them, then their perception is with a jaundiced eye of the carnal nature. Are you 'bean bag living' in the brethren? Are they willing to accommodate your desires as well as you theirs? As we dwell in Him who is in us on an individual basis, so also is the truth of the corporate expression.
As we dwell in Him, He hides us in the "secret of His presence" (Psalm 31:20). The word here in Hebrew means the "face of" or the "countenance." The verse goes on to say that He hides us "From the pride of man." This has great importance to us. The word pride means; "snares, plots". As we stand before His presence, beholding Him face to face, dwelling before Him, the snares and plots of man have no effect on us. In fact, as we dwell in His pavilion, which we are, quarrels, strife, etc. will not be seen because there is a harmony of purpose and a similar vision. This then is the life of a happy God, that we should dwell before Him.
The idea of it being a "secret place" has within the definition of the word a hiding place. When the tongue is not a slanderous vehicle it is well able to keep a secret. This secret place then is not a physical location but again a spiritual realm. For the carnal man, that Adamic man will slander someone at every opportunity. But the secret place of the Christ nature, although it may know something about someone, holds that back in secret and does not divulge it. The saint in the secret place of the Most High keeps secret the nature that is not in Christ of another person and allows that person to be what Christ sees them as. What a secret place! This place covers sins with love. Just as Christ has known our sins, died for our sins and redeemed us from our sins, so too the saint in the secret place knows our sins but see them not, like Christ forgives our sins (Matthew 6:14) and releases us from our sins. There is power in the secret place.
The word "abide" means to be in a process or action or condition that is incomplete and is a stop-over place of a larger plan. In other words, one remains until the finished product is produced. He that abides in the secret place is changed from glory to glory. As we dwell in the Lord He changes us into His image. When the fruition of that occurs we are cast forth from the womb (shelter) as sons. But the "stop over" is not just to cause the "sons" (Romans 8:19) to rejoice that they have come into Christ's image but rather to rejoice in being a part of the process to bring about the release of all creation. The abiding place is merely a station of preparation to develop the life of Christ in the individual to the maximum potential.
Because "abide" is a temporary situation, we must also realize that a shadow is a temporary event. A shadow is a temporary protection from the sun. It is a time of refreshing which goes along with the word "Almighty" which is the Hebrew "Shaddai." Almighty means the powerful one. We dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. His power, His strength, His ability and all His other attributes are so large that they cast a shadow over each of us. We have no abilities when we see Him as He truly is! We are content to be in His shadow as He goes before us. It was the shadow of Peter that healed a man. So, the shadow of God delivers us from the fallen nature as we abide in Him.
He now dwells in the hearts of his people (Eph. 3:17-19). The Holy Spirit dwells in believers (I Cor. 3:16, II Tim. 1:14). The fullness of Him is within us (John 1:16, Eph. 1:23, Col. 1:19, 2:9). We dwell in the secret place of the Most High, states Psalm 91:1. The first recording of the "Most High" is found in Genesis 14:18 where Melchizedek gives bread and wine to Abram. The wine and the bread represent the very life of God. The wine shows forth the spirit and the bread is representative of Christ himself, as the staff of life.
The name El Elyon is the word "high" which is from the root "alah" meaning to come up (and is used as such 82% of the time in scripture). El Elyon then means to come up to the most high place. The place where the life and spirit of God are evident after the order of Melchizedek. To dwell in the secret place of the Most High means to reside in the realm of Tabernacles, the place of engathering, the place of union with Christ. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. All death is swallowed up into life as one dwells in the secret place of the Most High God.
We are exhorted to "let the word of God dwell in us richly" (Col. 3:16, Ps. 119:11). We must learn the realm of the lowlands of Lot which are detrimental to our development in Christ, and like Abraham seek the places where rocks are. For we are the children of the snow, eating of the spirit. We find ourselves hid in the rock rather than being in the lowland and covered with the dust of Adam. For who aspires to leave the leeks of the lowland people for the crags of the rock? There is an appearance in the mountains that there is no life there. But He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High is at home on the mountain, not troubles by the flesh, nor by man.
Come and let us go unto the mountain of the Lord (Isaiah 2:2-3) for His House, that house made of mansions shall be established in the last days in the mountain of His secret place. Enter ye in until the indignation is passed. 'I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up to my bed... until I find a place for the Lord, a habitation for the mighty God of Jacob" (Psalm 132:3-5).
D I A L 9 1 1.
................. Charles Weller
A Brief History Of The Church (600 AD - 1500 AD)
This study will continue to highlight the history of the Church. In the first article, we covered the formation of the Church. In this series, we will address the deformation of the Church, leaving the last article to deal with the reformation of the Church. In this segment, let us think of the Church society as seen in the East and in the West. The third segment will think about the rise and influence of Muhammad and the Islam religion.
In the East, there were major personalities and two major events which affected the Orthodox Church. In about 726 AD, the Iconoclastic controversy took place. This controversy was the first which would influence the split which would occur in 1054 AD. This controversy was over the use of images in the Church. Leo, the Byzantine emperor issued the first decree against their use in 726 in part to meet the challenge of the Muslim charge that Christianity was polytheistic. He was supported by the Patriarch of Constantinople and "higher" clergy, but opposed by the monks and the common people. Gregory II, at Rome, denounced Leo's edict. The problem hardly existed in the West and because Rome held that no political power had any right to interfere in the affairs of the church. This controversy produced a breach between Rome and Constantinople. Gregory III was the last pope to seek confirmation of his election from Constantinople and in 781 the popes stopped mentioning the name of the emperor in dating their documents -- the ties to the East were cut. The popes turned to the Franks for aid, thus the Franco-papal alliance was a result of the Iconoclastic controversy. In 843, the Eastern Church Council settled the matter in favor of the use of picture images, no statues; but the damage had been done for unity.
In about 860, Photius, patriarch of Constantinople, has been called the "Luther of the Greek world" because he helped the Greek Church to understand and to appreciate her distinction from Latin.. He pressed his propaganda against the Western Church by the expansion among the Slavs of the north and west with active missionary activity and by his bold attacks on the pope's claim to primacy. In the struggle, Pope Nicholas I and Photius excommunicated each other. Photius changed the differences in worship and practice between the Eastern and Western Church into the orthodox way and the heretical way. Also, Photius sanctioned marriage of the clergy, made the Patriarch of Constantinople and pope of equal rank, and added the doctrinal difference implied in the filique. The Nicene Creed stated that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father, while the Latin (Western) Church add the words, "and the Son". Photius made the filique and the papacy the great wall of division between the Greek and the Latin Church. On July 16, 1054, both Churches excommunicated each other and the schism between East and Western Churches has remained so until the present day.
Because Turks had occupied the Holy Land, Eastern Emperor Alexius appealed to the Roman Pope Urban II to marshal forces to march against the infidels, the Turks, and to win back the Holy Land to Christianity. The pope with his oratory enlisted the help of the European countries to go to battle. This was the beginning of the crusades. Gregory Palamas was the theologian in the 14th century to introduce a movement of radical mysticism based on the tradition of contemplative prayer. The Orthodox Church accepted this movement in their monasteries. The Fall of Constantinople came in 1453, to the Turks, brought an end to the Eastern empire and jarred Europe with the threat of Mohammedan control, which, was stopped by John Sobieski in the battle of Vienna, 1683. Islam paralyzed and partly annihilated the life of the Eastern Church. Islam toleration permitted the patriarchal seats at Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem to remain but the Church's progress was arrested. The Greek Church became petrified and has its rigidity (cadaveric) to the present time.
As we look at the Western Church during this time we begin with the reign of Gregory I in 590. Many historians regard him as the first Pope. He appears at a time of political anarchy and public distress. Italy, after the Fall of Rome in 476, had become a Gothic Kingdom: later a Byzantine province under the control of the Eastern Emperor. Gregory's influence over various kings had a stabilizing effect. Also, he established himself complete control over the churches of Italy, Spain, Gaul and England. He labored for the purification of the Church, disposed unworthy bishops, opposed the practice of simony (sale of office). He ruled until 604.
In this seventh century arose a major threat to the Church and Western countries. Mohammed made his famous move from Mecca to Medina and thereafter began his successful preaching. Constructing a theology that utilized elements of Judaism, Christianity and Arabian heathenism, he produced a "religion" that would be a "thorn in the side" of the Christian community of Europe. This new religion was infused with fanatical zeal which would produce a steam roller that would flatten the Middle East, North Africa and a part of Europe. Islam claims about one-seventh of the world's population today! There are five pillars of Islam: 1) Accepting the Creed - There is no god but Allah, Mohammed is his prophet; 2) Praying five times a day toward Mecca; 3) Making a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a life-time; 4) Giving alms for charitable purposes; and 5) Fasting from sunrise to sunset throughout the sacred month of Ramadan.
Islam spread because of the positive monotheistic program that promised booty and positions of leadership to those who would engage in the world conquest, the Roman Empire was decaying from within, the Byzantines alienated many of their provincials with high taxes and excommunicating them for heretical views. Many Semitic people of the Byzantine provinces had more in common with the Semitic invaders than with the Greek Overlords. And the development of image worship in the Roman Church made the Christianity of that day look polytheistic to both Muslims and Christians. Islam took Western Arabia, then Roman provinces, Damascus, Palestine, Persian empire, Egypt, North Africa, Spain and finally they came to the borders of France. Charles Martel summoned forces to fight against the Muslims at Tours in Central France in 732. The forces of Martel won and threw back the Moors back into Spain and saved Western Europe and Christendom.
The year of 800 serves as a pivotal date in history. On Christmas day in Rome, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as emperor of the Romans. This new emperor interpreted this to mean that he was the leader of Western Christendom, monarch of the new Christian empire, rather than inheritor of the old Roman imperial office. This brought in the concept of a "Holy Roman Empire" -- an alliance between pope and emperor according to which each was to have dominion within his own sphere and to cooperate with each other and to promote the interests of each other. As time went on, popes and emperors engaged in periodic struggles to see who could dominate the other. Napoleon abolished the empire in 1806, about one thousand years after its inception.
In the eighth century, Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals were produced by Nicholas I around 860 to promote his claim of universal authority. This book was to contain documents supposing to have been written in the second and third centuries by bishops and councils to exalt the power of the pope. They were forgeries and their spurious character was discovered later on. About this time began the cleavage of Christendom in the ninth century to be completed in 1054. Even though the Empire had been divided in 395, there had been a struggle for centuries between the bishop of Rome and the patriarch of Constantinople for supremacy, yet the church was one. The councils were represented of East and West. For six centuries, the East had represented the main current of life and was the most important part of the Church. All ecumenical councils had been held at or near Constantinople, and in the Greek language. But the pope's insistent claim as Lord of Christendom had become unbearable and the East separated itself. The Council of Constantinople in 869 was the last ecumenical council -- hereforth the Greek Church and the Roman Church would have their own separate councils. The darkest time of the papacy began in the end of the ninth century. The rule of the "harlots" took hold of the papacy. Historians call this the "midnight of the dark Ages." The 200 years between Nicholas I and Gregory VII is called the black chapter in the whole history of the Church. Bribery, corruption, immorality, bloodshed, simony, etc. was the rule rather than the exception in the lives of the popes who ruled during this period.
In the eleventh century, Hildebrand, Gregory VII, associated himself with the Reformed Party and led the papacy into its Golden Age (1049 - 1294). He was great in intellect, fiery in spirit, determined, a man of iron. He believed in papal absolutism. He desired to reform the clergy. Two prevailing sins were immorality and simony. To cure the immorality, he insisted on celibacy. And to cure them of simony, he resisted the right of the emperor to appoint church officers. Almost all of the bishops and priests had paid for their office. The Church owned half of the property and had rich incomes, and with a church office, a bishop or priest could live in luxury. Kings would sell the offices to the highest bidder; regardless of the fitness of character of the individual. This brought Gregory in a bitter contest with Henry IV, Emperor of Germany. The emperor disposed Gregory and Gregory excommunicated Henry. Gregory was driven from Rome and died in exile. But he made the papacy independent from the imperial power.
The crusades began in 1095 and were completed in 1270, and were the effort of Christendom to regain the Holy Land from Islam. There were seven crusades in all. The first and fifth captured Jerusalem, the others were failures. The fourth captured and plundered Constantinople, making the division between East and West even deeper. The crusades, though failures in their object, had influence in saving Europe from the Turks and in opening up commercial and intellectual intercourse between Europe and the East, paving the way for a revival of learning. One of the great theologians of the time of the fourth crusade was Thomas Aquinas. He wrote extensively on Catholic doctrine and morals and his works enjoyed a high reputation for clearness and completeness. His Summa Theologiae remains to this day the standard authority in the Roman Church.
Outstanding theologians at this time were Anselm of Canterbury (1033 - 1109). In his Cur Deus Homo, he subjected the doctrine of the atonement to dialectical investigation and vindication. Peter Abelard (1079 - 1142) known for his works among them was his treatise on Christ's death. The death of Christ emphasized the exemplary love manifested in that death. The death of Christ exhibited that love and that emphasis overshadowed the legal aspects of Anselm's works. Abelard did much to further scholasticism. An outstanding mystic about this time was Bernard of Clairvaux. His influence and personality gave much impetus to monasticism. He was instrumental in arousing interest in the second crusade and was an ardent supporter of the pope and the Church. He was an eloquent preacher, an able writer of theological treatises, a composer of hymns. One of his famous hymns was, "Jesus, The Very Thought of Thee." Monasticism was active and strong at this period of history.
Francis of Assisi (1182 - 1226) is another personality who is noted in history. After a thoughtless youth, St. Francis dedicated himself to the imitation of Christ. Barefoot and in a coarse tunic, he preached repentance and the love for the brethren. A group of followers gathered around him and he received papal recognition. His order became the Franciscans. St. Dominic founded the order of Dominicans about this time also. He lived from 1170 - 1121. He was noted for his gravity and austerity. While fighting against heretics, he conceived the idea of an order of monks living together who should combat heresy by preaching. They were the missionaries of that time. Their method was two-fold -- to preach against the heretics and to preach to the heathen. They were active in preaching for the cause of the crusades. When gentler methods of trying to persuade the heretics to recant of their error failed, they employed the methods of the inquisition.
A third order was that of the Augustinians. This order was formed in 1265 by Pope Alexander IV by the merger of small hermit bodies. St. Augustine was their model. The Augustinians lived a strict life of discipline. They were active as teachers, writers and missionaries. Martin Luther was of this order. The resolve of Gregory VII to contest the emperor over the right of the pope to appoint bishops and priests led to many battles. Popes after Gregory fought other emperors. Popes Gelasius and Calixtus in the concordant of Worms, Germany, reached a compromise with the German emperor which brought peace after 50 years of battling each other.
The summit of papal power was at the ascension of Innocent the Third to the papal throne. Claimed to be the vicar of Christ and as sovereign over the world had the right to dispose kings and princes. All things on earth, in heaven and in hell were subject to him. The crown that he wore was in three crowns to symbolize that authority. The kings of Germany, France, England and even the Byzantine empire came under his control. Never in the history of the papacy has such a power existed. He ordered two crusades, condemned the magna charta, forbad the reading of the Bible in vernacular. Much blood was shed during his reign.
The Inquisition, called the "Holy Office" was instituted by Innocent III, and perfected by the next pope, Gregory IX. It was a church court for detection and punishment of heretics. Under it, every one was required to inform against heretics. Anyone suspected, was liable to torture without knowing the name of his accuser. The proceedings were secret, and the Inquisitor pronounced sentence and the victim was turned over to civil authorities to be imprisoned for life or to be burned. The victim's property was divided between Church and State. The deadly work of the Inquisition was directed toward the Albigenses in Southern France and claimed lives in Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands and was later used to crush the Reformation. No fewer than 900,000 Protestants were put to death. This Inquisition lasted for about 500 years and was used by popes to maintain their power.
Forerunners of the Reformation include the following: Petrobusians, founded by Peter de Bruys in France. They believed that the Mass was to be rejected, that Communion was a memorial and that ministers should marry; Albigenses preached against the immorality of the clergy, worship of saints and images, opposed claims of Rome and made great use of the Scriptures. The Inquisition utterly rooted them out and within one hundred years they were extinguished. Waldenses, a similar to the Albigenses, but not identical. Waldo, a rich merchant of Lyons, gave away his wealth, went about preaching the Gospel. Taught that the Bible was the sole source of belief and life. They were nearly destroyed, but survived. Today they are strong in Italy.
John Wyclif, a teacher at Oxford, England. Preached against the excesses of Rome and attacked transubstantiation and auricular confession. Advocated the people's right to read the Bible. Translated it into the English language. John Huss - rector of the University of Prague, Bohemia. He was a student of Wyclif, whose writings had penetrated Bohemia. Huss was a fearless preacher. He attacked the vices of the clergy, condemned the sale of indulgences, rejected purgatory, worship of saints and exalted the Scriptures above the dogmas of the Church. He was burned alive at the stake and his followers were almost extirpated by a crusade ordered by the pope.
Savonarola, a Florence, Italy citizen. He preached as a Hebrew prophet, and vast crowds thronged his cathedral. He thundered against the sensuality and sin of the city, and against papal vice. The city repented and there was a reformation in hearts of many of the citizens. Pope Alexander VI sought to silence him, even bribing him with a cardinal's hat; but in vain. He was hanged and burned in the great square in Florence 19 years before Luther posted his 95 thesis at Wittenberg. Erasmus, a great scholar and author of the Renaissance. His ambition was to free men from false ideas about religion, and thought the best way to do that was to return to the Scriptures. His Greek new Testament gave translators an accurate text to work with. A critic of the Roman Church, he helped the Reformation even though he never joined.
There was widespread discontent among the people because of the corruption of the Church and clergy. People were restless under cruelties of the Inquisition. Civil rulers were tired of papal interference in governmental matters. All were ready for a renaissance of the spirit, the soul and the body. It was time for Luther to sound forth the trumpet of the Truth of God's Word. One of the blows to papal prestige was the captivity of the papacy. For seventy years the papal palace was in Avignon, France. Seven popes lived there. This decline of papal prestige was when Boniface VIII in 1303 declared that it is altogether necessary for salvation that every creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff. This angered the King of France who was the leading monarch in Europe. The king was annoyed because of the papal inquisition of the French people in the preceding century. The king sent his men and captured the pope. The papacy which had been victorious in its 200 years struggle with the German Empire was now no match for the French. They humbled the papacy to the dust and began this era of decline.
A papal schism followed. This hurt the papacy even more than the captivity of the papacy in France. The schism resulted when the French and the Italian cardinals could not agree on ending the Babylonian captivity. The split was in the College of Cardinals and the election of two popes -- one at Rome and one at Avignon. The princes of Europe lined up behind the pope of their choice and Christendom was split. The council of Pisa (1409) tried to settle the problem by deposing the two existing popes and electing a third pope. For several years there were three popes anathematizing and excommunicating each other. Confusion was rampant in Christendom. Reforming parties grew rapidly. John Huss was preaching at this time and exposing the sins and errors of the popes and clergy. To settle the question, the Council of Constance in 1417 deposed all three popes and elected a new one. The new one would live permanently in Rome.
Some have called the last half of the fifteenth century the paganized stage of the papacy with their interest in classical literature, art, architecture and materialism. With their excesses in immorality and their secularization, the papacy and the Roman Church was very sick at the beginning of the 16th century.
To be continued................. Dr. Jack E. Jacobsen