William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
The founding documents of the United States of America would have us to believe all men are created equal. Rather than take issue with equality in creation, let the reader consider that the very moment one comes into this world he/she is both equal and unequal. One’s parental status, environment, socio-economic level, and I.Q. does not provide for equality but for inequality.
Though flawed as all governmental systems of men are, that inequality has, with the help of God, produced the greatest nation on earth. Capitalism’s principles are based on the Judeo/Christian ethic of theology, morals, and individual initiatives. It is a nation that evil works relentlessly to undo.
Now, there are those who labor to enrich themselves by pandering to those who will not work, will not pursue an education, but will demand in violent destructiveness that those who do have initiative, and who do work should support them. Government folks in high places push this agenda for their own obvious purpose of staying in power through “votes by pandering,” and seem determined to deprive the nation of capitalistic enterprise. One wonders: do they believe the government printing presses can keep the economy afloat forever?
As an aside, many years ago, this writer was placed on a legislative ad hoc committee to draft childcare legislation. In some of the discussions with more liberal committee members over the issue of assurance of preventing failure, it was my premise then as now, if there is not freedom to fail, there is no freedom: if there is not freedom for all, then there is no freedom at all.
Obviously, it was the Creator’s holy will that men have free moral agency: the freedom to win; the freedom to lose, the freedom to live; the freedom to die. Men who reject God and pursue the premise of evolution are determined to change that, but it is a determination destined to fail. Still, there is a sense in which all men are equal: all are sinners, and all are condemned by virtue of sin. The good news is that God provides for all men the freedom to partake of His marvelous grace, and thereby escape the destiny of sin while gaining the wealth and joys of heaven. But that freedom exercised makes men unequal.
Thus does 2 Cor. 6:14 admonish believers to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. Let there be rejoicing in heaven and earth that the lovely Lord Jesus: the Creator/Christ, has by His own blood purchased for all who love Him the freedom to be unequal.
Tag Archives: christian
William Andrew Dillard
Out of the pages of the New Testament comes a story that many who have a general knowledge of its books have overlooked at worse or put on the back burner for later attention at best. It is a story involving three individuals: the apostle Paul, a Christian property owner named Philemon, and a run-a-way slave named Onesimus. Think with me for a moment about it.
How or why Onesimus became a slave is unknown. There were many reasons why one must become such in the days under consideration. Often, many were born to slaves and were by birthright the property of the master who owned his parents.
Regardless, it is clear that Onesimus was an unhappy individual who probably resented his status, and felt life surely held something better and higher for him. Paul acknowledges that in that state Onesimus was an unprofitable slave to his master Philemon., Phil. 1:11.
He proceeded to run away from his master’s home and somehow made his way to Rome where he sought out Paul who was under house arrest there, and whom he doubtlessly knew from Paul’s visit to Philemon’s place.
Paul received him, and led him to the Lord. He remained there for a time ministering to the needs of the apostle. It was then that Paul penned the short letter of importunity to send with Onesimus to Philemon. One can only assume, but safely assume that Philemon was pleased to receive Onesimus back into his home with considerable joy because instead of a rebel, he now received a brother in Christ who was wiser spiritually, and much more mature mentally. As the apostle put it, he departed from his responsibilities for a season, that he should be received for ever. V. 15.
What a wonderful story this is! It parallels the life of most Christians throughout the age.
Unlike Onesimus, it may not be an earthly authority one is running from. It could be initially, of course, but the lure of sin is strong. It leads one to believe the world has wonderful things ready to heap upon its seekers, but so soon one finds out differently. The prodigal son certainly did. In realization at last that the world has no lasting love for anyone, and that life really does offer so much more that the sinner can receive from it, a turn is made to the lovely Lord Jesus Christ Who saves with an everlasting salvation, and fills the heart with eternal hope. Onesimus found peace, life, and goodness in the truest form, and that is so right!
The Christian life is like riding a bicycle,
you are either moving forward,
or you are falling off.
In the heart of Hebrew history, there existed a ritual that is fraught with New Testament meaning. It was the practice of anointing a king or a high priest. In the ceremony, oil was literally poured upon the head of the person in symbolism of the filling, covering, empowering of that person by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the office to which he was installed.
Of course, as many things were, this was a shadow, type, picture of the One Whom God would both send and anoint to be the ultimate Prophet, High Priest and King. In the Hebrew language the word for “anoint” is “Messiah.” Therefore, the believing Jews looked for their Messiah (anointed one) to come. In the New Testament times, the primary written language was Koine Greek. The word in that language for “anointed” is “Christos” or in transliteration: “Christ.” Now the person anointed of God in the New Testament is Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. His anointing was not in oil but in the reality that oil symbolized: Holy Spirit. That occurred at Jesus baptism as He and John moved to fulfill all righteousness.
Moreover, Jesus is the head of His body, the church. Since the Head is anointed, (Christ) it is appropriate that the body also be anointed (Christ). That anointing of the body occurred at Pentecost, Acts 2. In that anointing, the body received energetic power and gifts to perform the commission given to it by the Head. The church exploded with true growth, but God was not preparing it for a megachurch, but for its demise through immediate proliferation in Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the earth. It was destined for an effective scattering in a few days. Therefore, those that were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word.
A powerful church then came to exist in Antioch. Teachers such as Barnabas, Paul, and others were a part of it. It was there that the disciples were first called “Christians.” Some say this was a term spoken by locals in contempt of who these people were, and what they were doing. There simply is no proof at all of such an allegation. On the other hand, the locals knew Greek very well. They applied this term to them because they recognized that they were ministering in the name of, and in the Spirit of Jesus the Anointed (Christ).
While to the locals it may have been primarily the works of the church by which the name was applied; to the church it was the things that made them a church by which the name was rightfully applicable. That is, they were born-again people; baptized people, church-body people; dedicated people to the teaching of Jesus. They were indeed Christians (Christ-i-ans) (anointed ones). Any other application of that term today is nothing more than a corruption of it. It does not apply to all the saved today anymore than it applied to all the saved in Old Testament times. It is a term that is uniquely applied to the true members of the anointed body of Jesus: His church: anointed in Spirit and Truth: Christians, in the uncorrupted meaning of the term.
have enrolled in the
witness protection plan.
They are hiding
in plain sight.
who doesn’t witness is a
contradiction in terms.
responsibility does a Christian have in the use of his money? May he
actually worship God with it? This is an oft asked question,
especially in lessons and discussions of stewardship. It is asked
because there are tangential extremes that invariably get thrown into
the verbal mix. There is acceptable worship of God with money, but
money is never a substitute for what worship should include.
In Old Testament times, God demanded a tenth of one’s increase, even the first fruits of man, beast, the field, the orchards, and the vineyards. Wealth or lack thereof was not taken into consideration, except in the offerings in which the poor could offer birds instead of beasts.
Under the New Testament era of grace, God’s people have not received less, but more responsibility, all within the realm of maturity rather than demand.
But modern times have produced their own extremities. On one hand, some would have us to always study to boycott companies that sell what we need when those companies then use their money wrongly. I do not accept that responsibility unless the evil is blatant. I cannot be responsible for what others do with their money. I have enough trouble governing my own decisions.
On the other hand, one should be aware of his responsibility to use money wisely. It is hard to claim that there is no money for God’s work when one is spending God’s money ( yes, your money is God’s money that you would not have unless He blessed you with the health and ability to earn it) for alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and other vices that are a blight on society. Moreover, what does the widow who gave her last two mites to the work of God say to us? Anything???
Furthermore, it is not the religious super-structural programs, but the local, New Testament Churches that should be the object of our concern in wise stewardship. After all it is not the tele-evangelist; the cooperative programs; or self-styled religious programs that visit you in the hospital, conduct funerals, deliver God’s messages in sermon, song, Bible study, and in property maintenance commensurate to worship services. It is the local church which provides these ministries. It is worthy of the support of all its members. Maintaining it is giving to God and accepted as such. Personally, I am careful how I spend my money, and more careful how and where I give it, because I am convicted that is how the Word teaches me to be.
Parson to Person
From early days, the United States of America has been generally know by the world as a Christian nation. To be sure there were many times and episodes in its history that would bring that idea into question. Still, following the great revivals of the early 19th century, that label largely stuck, more predominately in the Southern Bible belt than in the other regions. This will draw some flack, but here me out.
A few years ago, the then president of the United States stood before a gathering of leaders from many nations and forthrightly declared that America was NOT a Christian nation. A fire storm of repudiation ensued from folks at home.
I shall refrain from the many temptations of digression that present themselves in order to advance the greater purpose in mind. Could he have been correct? I think it all depends upon what one considers a Christian to be.
To perhaps 90% of what is called the “Christian World” the definition of a Christian is one who confesses that Jesus is the Son of God. Repentance from sin and faith in Him brings eternal salvation to the spirit of the individual. But Faith in God has wrought individual salvation since Eden, and none of the Old Testament saints are biblically known as Christians. What are we to make of it all? Please think with me!
The disciples of Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11). They did not name themselves that, but the general populace dubbed them with that title. They were a Greek speaking people and knew exactly what they were saying and meaning. It is dedicated discipleship (followership) by which those saved people were recognized and entitled.
The disciples at Antioch were 1) saved by grace through faith; 2) baptized by the first church by immersion in water; 3) honored the Word of God by teaching the biblical landmarks that guided their life, these included the above plus eternal security of the believer, and the authority of the church to spread the gospel, and administer the ordinances Jesus put into His church . As one is dedicated to these things and grows in the Word, he will be a New Testament Christian. Did this just decimate the popular idea of Christianity? Doubtless!
When folks align themselves with a religious organization without thought or research of the Biblical model, they become a Christian in colloquial name only, and are devoid of any meaningful honesty with their Creator as it is revealed in His eternal Word. Evangelism is reduced to an invitation to “our church” and its programs rather than to the all important, individual, relationship with God both in salvation and in dedicated, acceptable service.
Maybe, just maybe that Muslim pleasing president was unwittingly right. Simply put, a nation of churchgoers does not a Christian make!
The current President of the United States of America boldly states in International media that the United States is not a “Christian country!” To a generation largely ignorant of history, he lauds the (unfounded) contributions to our advancement by Muslim nations. There is outcry, but not loud, and not long. As national foundations are made to crumble, one may still hear fainted laments, “But we are a Christian nation!” I submit to readers that while this great nation was founded on the Judeo-Christian teaching of Holy Writ, the definition of “Christian” by that holy book does not agree with the common, modern understanding of the word; that reality overwhelmingly reveals that “Christian” nowadays more pointedly means “Cultural Christian.” Think about it!
Churches of all types, brands, and contradictory doctrinal standing are accepted as “Christian” because they purport to hold to the historical fact that a man named Jesus came as the Son of God into the world, and was crucified on a Roman Cross. That certainly is a true, historical and biblical fact, but accepting that alone does not qualify a person or an institution to be a Christian, except in the cultural sense.
Cultural Christians believe without question that any church is Christian simply because it purports to be. Folks do whatever is necessary to be added to the membership rolls of the “church of their choice,” but care little about learning what it teaches or where it came from let alone what Holy Writ declares. Attendance is largely limited to AME (Armistice Day, Mother’s Day, and Easter) attendees which qualifies them to boldly make their spurious claim.
Cultural Christians find that such membership may allow them to inflate claims of contributions for tax advantages, it insulates them from the outreach of more evangelical disciples, and gives them a false sense of security that they could not be in error due to the large numbers of educated people who have made, similar decisions; it affords them social, business, and recreational interaction at minimal costs.
Nowadays, humor may be extracted from the inability of young and old alike on the street being unable to answer important questions in civics, but let’s hope the questions do not turn to the Bible. It would be disastrous , which, of course, it will be when cultural Christianity is offered to the Master as being the real thing!