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Welcome to this the third issue of the Dovetales Newsletter. We hope you will enjoy it!


In this Issue

Three Inescaable Conclusions About Miracles
Our Blessed Heritage
Covenants, Pastors and Programs?


In Other News

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Three Inescaable Conclusions About Miracles

First the presence of abuses and even impurity in Christian groups where miracles occur does not prove that their miracles are not from God, any more than they did in Corinth.

Second, the presence of doctrinal error in Christian groups where miracles occur does not prove that their miracles are invalid.

Third, miracles neither confirm nor support the distinctive doctrines and practices of individual groups. According to scripture there is only one message that the New Testament miracles support or confirm, and that is the Gospel message focussed on the work and person of Jesus Christ.

Much cessationist literature throughout the last 100 years has failed to grasp these three conclusions. Wherever miracles appear cessationists immediately look for moral abuses or doctrinal error so they can proclaim that this proves the miracles within that group are not real. They might as well conclude that the gifts at Corinth and Galatia were not real either.

Noncharismatic Abuses Within the Church

Revelations of impropriety in every branch of the church (including the fighting fundies) are common place today.

People often use charismatic abuses to prove that the gifts of the Spirit are not given today. But that sword cuts both ways. There are abuses in all expressions of    Christianity. It’s just that some get used to their own abuses, and they don’t seem as bad as the other groups. But is that really true?

What disturbs me most about this aspect is that they value doctrinal correctness more highly than morality, righteousness and compassion Acts 10:38.

This priority is the result of something teachers have ignorantly instilled in all that fail to examine the scriptures for themselves. They have learned this emphasis (not from the Bible) but from the religious authorities that made doctrinal authority their highest value. This emphasis cannot be found in the New Testament. It in fact perverts the New Testament because it views the mind as more important than the heart, and claims that believing the right things is more important than living the right things.

There will be many that go to Hell that believed the right things you can be sure of that.

If you were to give a man a Bible and ask him to go away and read it there is no way that he would conclude that miracles are not part of the gospel message.

I’ve have travelled extensively in the third world over many years and in all that time where miracles of healing and deliverance from the kingdom of darkness was proclaimed it always bore fruit. Where these aspects of the gospel message were ignored, there was invariably very little, or no fruit

The Last Words of Christ.

No more important words were ever spoken to the sons of men.
They call for our most diligent attention.
They have the greatest possible consequences.
In them is set forth eternal happiness, or misery.

Mark 16:16 "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe”.

The recipient of a sign, a wonder and miracle, can be a Roman Catholic, a Protestant of any and every persuasion you care to name, as well as a Charismatic, it makes no difference what you are,  but in whom you have placed your trust for a miracle.

This needs to be reinforced again and again.

 Miracles neither confirm nor support the distinctive doctrines and practices of individual groups. Please get that straight once and for all. He doesn’t recognise distinctive Christian Denominational Movements.  He doesn’t use them (and never has) either.

God confirms His word; in the hearts of individuals that walk with Him, believe Him, trust and obey Him

 

Our Blessed Heritage

We should think long, and hard, about whom we lend our minds to for our spiritual education. We tend to think that history is just a thing of the past when in actual fact, it’s recurring continually. To understand the story of (Religious freedom) and the Open Bible, we have to take a brief look at the earlier history of the Bible in English. The story is one of martyrdom and repression. It commences with John Wycliffe's translation of the scriptures in the 1380s, for which he was denounced as a heretic.

The orthodox view was that to make the Bible accessible to the common people would threaten the authority of the Church, and lead the people to question its teaching. A scandalized contemporary wrote: “This Master John Wycliffe translated from Latin into English - the Angle (Anglo-Saxon) speech’- and so the pearl of the gospel is scattered abroad, and trodden underfoot by swine”.

This sentiment was echoed by the seventeenth-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who sourly observed: “After the Bible was translated into English, every man, nay, every boy and wench that could read English, thought that they spoke with God Almighty and understood what he said.” So Wycliffe and his dissident Lollard movement were rigorously suppressed. The comment of Thomas Hobbes seems to be especially relevant to us today. “How dare ordinary people commune with God?” (Without permission from clergy I might add).

Similarly when William Tyndale published his translation of the New Testament from the Greek in 1525, he entered into a conflict with Church and State that eventually brought him to the stake. Translating and publishing God’s word, in the language of the people, was regarded as revolutionary an act in the eighteenth century, as advancing the proposition that States should be ruled by democracy, not kings. This Passage taken from R. Crum, W. Cran and R. McNeil. The Story of the English, Viking Penguin, Inc New York.

It seems to me the following scripture is saying the same thing to which we are endeavouring to draw attention. Like many other things that occur historically, it’s all happened before.

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 “That which has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it may be said, See, this is new? It has already been in days of old, which were before us”.

When Emperor Constantine in 300bc was converted, Christianity became the State religion. He built Churches and established paid clergy to instruct the people. It was the birth of Roman Catholicism. It was the union of State and the Church.

After King Henry viii became the head of the English Church, the Bible in English became more freely available, and the common people were allowed to read it. But when his daughter “Bloody Mary” came to the throne she persecuted the English protestant Church mercilessly. This state of affairs was reversed during Elizabeth’s reign as she made the break from Rome final. She placed a Bible in every church in the realm and people were encouraged to read it. As reigning Monarch however she maintained control of the Church by the appointment of its Bishops, who in turn ruled the lower ranks of Clerics.

Tyndale’s Bible from which much if not most of the King James Bible was borrowed, never used the word “Church” but “ Congregation”, nor did he use the titular terms, “Priest” or “Bishop” but “servant and elder”. The titular titles came straight out of the Latin Vulgate Bible which was adjudged by all the reformers as a spurious and inaccurate translation and as such must be rejected.

The Seperation of Church and State

The Monarchy in England took control of the church, appointed its own Bishops, and so divorced itself completely from the Papacy. After Queen Elizabeth died James of Scotland (who was a papist) sought the throne. To succeed he had to make concessions to pacify the Protestant Church or face a civil war. He did this when he commanded that a new Bible in English be printed, but as “King” he kept control of the English church by appointing “it’s Bishops”. Unlike Tyndale before him, he retained the hierarchical pyramid of the Latin Vulgate with its titular titles of Church; Bishop; and Priest in his translation. The King was absolute ruler over all with title of “defender of the faith” and head over the English Church.

The Puritans initially accepted this arrangement until they became fearful that if Spain invaded England and was victorious, it would enforce the rule of Rome over the English Church. Wanting freedom from all State interference the Puritans eventually migrated to the young colony that was to become the United States. But true to human frailty it was not long before they were guilty of the same intolerance, tyranny and injustices, as those that they had left behind. They would burn 20 witches at the stake, and several others for adultery. They excommunicated more for non-compliance with their doctrines. They were religious bigots; they fought among themselves and quickly split into several factions.

Read about it, it’s an historical fact. It was the same Spirit of intolerance that Luther resisted until he eventually set in motion the Reformation which weakened the authority of the Pope and the Roman Church.

The Bill of Rights

Amendment One:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This was a catalyst for Religious Freedom that brought about a “great awakening in America” in which George Whitfield and Jonathon Edwards played major roles. Its effect was to bring the blessing of God upon the young nation, and make America the destination of millions who wanted to live as free men. It truly became the home of the brave and the land of the free.

US Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

-- Our Freedom Needs To Be Defended --

Every Denomination is a Spiritual Principality or Power. They Govern themselves by a constitution drawn up by themselves (but not by God) to pursue their agendas. They ardently seek to enlist new members to assist them to grow numerically and thereby increase their power and influence. New members must comply if they want to move up the religious ladder. Clergy ideally should be trained in their institutions, or submit to their Superintendant; Bishop; Apostle; or by whatever other office that they allocate to themselves. All these Titles take on a life of their own. This pyramid style operates within “Local Churches” as well as bigger institutions.

Although they pray and call all to unify, they promote division and mistrust among themselves. They teach their followers to be suspicious of all that don’t pronounce their “Shibboleths”. Dear ones stand fast in the Liberty wherewith Christ has set you free, and be NOT entangled with the yoke of bondage. The Doctrine of Covering is a doctrine of Devils and comes straight from Rome, (Babylon). Get my booklet on “Look out they’ve got you covered”.

I am of the same opinion as A W. Pink ‘Exposition to Hebrews’ when he said “In essentials I agree with them all, and in circumstantial details I differ no more than they differ among themselves. They all confess that they are fallible, and yet decide with an air of infallibility, and they all in turn expect me to unite with them if I have any regard to the authority and honour of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head of the church. But the very consideration they propose restrains me from uniting with any of them.

This writer has frequently been asked, “Do you intend to join us?” I do not believe that I should honour the headship and kingly office of Christ by acknowledging Him as the Head of a party and subdivision of His people to the exclusion of the rest.

Every party uses fair words proclaiming their liberty and freedom, but when an explanation is made it always amounts to the same thing. They will give liberty to think as they think, and to act as they act, which to me, who claims the same right of thinking for myself and of acting according to the dictates of my own conscience, is no liberty at all. I stand firm on the convictions I have on my understanding of the word and conclude that I will love them and hold friendly intercourse with them all, so far as they should providentially come across my path. And I might add so far as they will allow me! But that I would stand fast in the liberty in which Christ has made me free and bow neither to them or their creeds.

If others seek to honour Christ by laying great stress on doubtful matters then let them. But I will honour Him by endeavouring to show His kingdom is not of this world. Nor does it consist in pleading for conformity to tenets and parties, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything with God but a new creature, and the faith that works by love”.

How quickly we forget that the just shall live by faith.This is the course that this writer has diligently sought to follow since coming to Christ. But I find it baffling and even amusing if it were not so sad, that some of those that I once walked this path with, have fallen into the same sectarian trap as those they once criticized and labelled Babylonians. And now we find ourselves having to explain why we do not wish to join any sectarian group no matter how loudly they may boast of their broadmindedness and free spirit.

We have found everywhere we have been the ecclesiastical barrier is as impregnable today as it has always been. That no church circle, or company of professing Christians is prepared to really welcome into their midst and extend the right hand of fellowship, (no matter what his reputation and credentials) to anyone who is unprepared to join and limit to their party and pronounce all their shibboleths

In so far as these matters are concerned “let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” But as far as this writer is concerned he values his Christian liberty far too highly, and considers it sufficient being joined to the Lord as a member of His glorious body. I do not see the need to join anything more than this. Therefore I have no intention of locking myself up in some ecclesiastic prison to be excluded from fellowship with my brothers and sisters scattered throughout the world.

In addition to this matter I am yet to find sinless perfection in any one individual person here on this earth, so I don’t expect to find it in any group of individuals. No one party or group has all the light. There are those who are all but paranoid about allowing their membership to read any publication that does not have their stamp of approval on it. Some even exercise censorship among their members setting themselves up as an authority higher than the Holy Spirit who has promised to lead and guide us in matters of truth. It would appear that they must feel that their members, whether they be minister or congregational member haven’t the ability to know their left hand from their right. Why else would they insist that any publication should be censored from their administrative headquarters before it is mailed out to their financial members? It’s no wonder God’s Spirit is quenched, and His blessing and power rarely seen where such an unchristian, sectarian, and pharisaic spirit prevails. We are grateful where this is not the case but sadly this is always the case with every denomination.

True maturity comes when we are ready to acknowledge to others and ourselves that we know only in part. This means that while I don’t know everything now, I do know something, and on the basis of what I do know, I must act. Following Christ has nothing to do with success in a worldly sense; it is all to do with obedience.

If you are the member of a group where unsound doctrine is preached and no scriptural discipline is maintained your course is clear, just leave and find somewhere that's true to Christ and His word. If on the other hand you belong to a group of Christians who honour Christ as Lord, and to the best of their ability preach sound doctrine and feed and care for your soul, then you would be wise to continue in fellowship, and listen to those that speak from a true heart.

The truth of the Lorship of Christ in all the affairs of the Christianity is one of the clearest in scripture.

 

Should We Enter Into Covenants With Pastors and Their Programs?

PRINCIPAL ONE:

A covenant is between two. No resolution that we might make is strong enough to keep us true. The most fervent of our vows can fail in the hour of trial. A covenant is permanent only as long as God is party to it. If Jesus is the co-signatory then we can be certain that all hell will never be able to overthrow it.   

The New Covenant which Christ ratified for us at Calvary is the only one we are party to.

It is often said, “don’t make promises you can’t keep”; and that’s good advice, but we should not make promises to anyone regarding anything, not even to our best friends. We affirm or deny, but nothing more than that. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus warned that to say any more than ‘yes’, or ‘no’, is evil. (Matt 5:33-37).

Our word should be our bond. If as Peter says we are partakers of the Divine nature, what is true of our Heavenly Father will be true of us His children. God is not a man and cannot lie, that’s why we can do business with Him, because He can be trusted to keep His word.

James 5:12. “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your "Yes," be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into judgment”.

Pastors today want their people to commit to them personally:

They expect you to pledge money to them for their expansive programs; and to support them financially, even if it hurts. Family time that belongs to couples and their children is stolen from them to work for the church. Why do saints yield to this kind of pressure? Our time is to be used as God decides; it does not belong to Pastors. You are deluded if you think that serving the Pastor’s dreams is the same as serving God? It most definitely is not! And it’s wrong! Look at what happened in the discipleship movement. Absolute submission to the leaders was mandatory. Women were to be seen and not heard. The big 5, Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson, Derek Prince, Ern Baxter, and Howard Carter, insisted that every one must submit to come under a personal shepherd if they wanted to join their movement. Submit or split was their motto. The tithes were passed up to the top. Their subjects could not move, work, buy or sell without their express permission. This suited lazy Christians because then they didn’t have to make decisions; they were made for them. But these decisions were not made by God, but fallible men. The followers were told that God would not hold them responsible as long as they we under the covering of their shepherd, so when anything went wrong (and plenty did) they had a scapegoat, but that does not wash with God. Every man must bear his own burden of responsibility. To be sure it’s an extreme case, but multiplied thousands of people took to it like ducks to water. In hindsight it’s amazing to see how many supposedly mature saints that I knew personally got caught up in this charade, many of them are still around licking their wounds. 

The New Covenant was designed for our total benefit

It is irrevocable. He voluntarily bound Himself to each one of us. Then by an oath He sealed it with His blood at Calvary. It is personal. There is no room for a third party. We should never foreswear to any man, (especially a pastor) for that would be in violation of our covenant with Him to whom we now belong. Find out exactly what redeemed means. When I married I made a vow to God to love, cherish, protect, and provide for my bride. All who were present witnessed it. God heard it, and accepted it, and 50 years later I am still by His grace lovingly abiding by it. My bride made the same commitment to the Lord regarding me. From that moment we belonged to each other, body soul and spirit. What condition is your covenant with the Lord in? The first thing that happens when a covenant comes under pressure is intimacy ceases.

Galatians 5:1 “Christ has truly made us free: then keep your free condition and let no man put a yoke on you again”.  (BBE)

PRINCIPAL TWO:

As oft as we come together we have been commanded to gather around a table upon which are two elements, bread and wine. It is for the purpose of remembering the covenant He ratified that fateful day when He offered Himself by the Eternal Spirit unto God for our redemption. He has fulfilled His part, and by His obedience has drawn us into union with himself. When we accepted Him as Lord and Saviour we became party to this covenant with Him.

PRINCIPAL THREE:

All our relationships are predicated upon this covenant. What we are doing when we eat the bread and drink the cup is reaffirming our covenant with Him. It is a table of remembrance. As we come to this “Altar” (Heb 13:10) we will find forgiveness and grace to readjust our lives. The cup we drink, “is it not the blood of the everlasting covenant”? The bread we eat isn’t it His body broken for us? It is only at the foot of the cross that we will find true union with Him, and unity among ourselves. We show it whenever two or three come together to break bread in His name. It is personal! “Let a man examine himself, before he eats”. If he has violated the covenant he can by confession, not only find forgiveness, but grace and strength to enable him to go forth renewed in spirit as he continues to walk with Christ.

It is a feast with consequences that are negative as well as positive, and so we must examine ourselves before we eat. Sadly many pastors fail to exhort their people to do this, and for this cause many of them are weak and sickly, and some even die. Often the pastor overlooks this table of remembrance altogether because he believes the sermon he has prepared is more important than Christ’s desire to sup with us. Besides he wants the people to keep coming back, so he must give them a service that leaves them feeling warm and uplifted by his message. Moreover mentioning the subject of sin, or holiness, and the need for forgiveness in our lives would be detrimental to his goals. Teach topical things pastor! Most churchgoers are like the Greeks in Paul’s day, they love to have their ears tickled. P.S. If you avoid truth and ignore heart issues and the leave people with warm and fuzzy feelings it will open many doors for you on the pastor merry-go-round. 

An article printed in “House2House” magazine (the official organ of Tony and Felicity Dales) made light of the way the Lord’s Table is observed in traditional circles, in an article entitled “The Lord’s Snack”. In so doing it tarnished the memory of our Saviours death, which He commanded us to memorialise oft. I’m not saying the way many observe it is perfect. It really matters little whether it is a cracker or a whole loaf; the main point is that we should observe it oft. The bread, which we eat, “is it not the Body of Christ”? Lying around on the carpet eating sandwiches as could be seen in a photo that accompanied the article is a poor substitute. He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. How could we who owe everything to Him treat the memory of His sacrifice with such indifference?

P.S. I wrote to the Dales about the article and sent tem a copy of “The Lord’s Supper”. They acknowledged receiving it and said they would get back to me, but they never did.

When someone has a personal conviction about an issue it’s their business, and they are entitled to it; but if they go public with it then it’s every bodies business.

“If we can’t take the heat, then we should stay out of the kitchen”. Harry Trueman

 


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