Archive for February 2009

Freedom of Faith

February 24, 2009

Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand (II Corinthians 1:24).

God has called us into an individual faith before Himself. No one has the right to have dominion over our faith. Our faith is to be personal; without constraint, without manipulation.

Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God (Romans 14:22).

Being strong in such personal faith is what brings glory to the Father.

He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God (Romans 4:20).

Embrace true liberty: freedom from religion, to freedom of faith.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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The “Arrival”

February 23, 2009

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before (Philippians 3:12-13).

Pride works in the believer to make him think that he has somehow “arrived” scripturally and spiritually. It embraces a self-confidence that one’s life and knowledge of the truth has already been perfected; that we have attained some level of personal perfection.

The fact is that none of us presently possess “all truth” infallibly. None of us has a corner on truth.

… We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him (I Corinthians 8:1-3).

Seek the truth. Study the Scriptures. Adjust your understanding.

Keep an open mind, and an open Bible.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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Being Myth-Taken – A Look at “Christian” Mythology

February 21, 2009

Neither give heed to fables … (I Timothy 1:4).

But refuse profane and old wives’ fables … (I Timothy 4:7).

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (II Timothy 4:4).

Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth (Titus 1:14).

Four times in Paul’s writings he uses the Greek word muthos/mythos, Strong’s Greek Lexicon #3454, meaning “a tale, i.e., fiction (‘myth’).” Our English word myth comes from this Greek word mythos.

Paul warned the believer about fables or “myths” that were being pawned off as “scriptural” teachings. As real as these threats were to the believer of Paul’s day, two thousand years have added a thick maze of twisted tales masquerading as the truth. The result has been that the overwhelming majority of Christendom finds itself being myth-taken. They are buried deep in the darkness of a “Christian” mythology.

It is no small task for the student of Scripture to study and sort through traditional “Christian” mythology and the actual truth of the Bible; but it is a noble and rewarding journey. It requires diligent and faithful dedication to the actual Words of God. The saints at Berea modeled this spirit of loyalty to what God had said:

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Acts 17:11).

What a life-long task every workman of the Scriptures has. It involves never allowing ourselves to be locked into any man-made creed or systematic theology; while cultivating an ever-adjusting heart and mind to what has been learned afresh from the Scriptures. It requires an attitude and spirit of adjustability.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15).

T. Austin-Sparks (1888-1971) wrote regarding the issue of adjustability:

Many of the Lord’s people stop short at adjusting to the truth. It very often means breaking with something that we have regarded as very important and very precious. We have come to see that, after all, that was only our conception of it. In God’s view that does not occupy the place at all that we had thought it occupied, and it has to be left behind. We have to adjust to something higher and fuller than that, to a more spiritual and heavenly conception of things. – A Witness and a Testimony (May 1939)

Do not spend your life following the fables of Christendom; being myth-taken. Join the noble sons of God who are diligently searching the Scriptures to see if those things are so. Be truth-taken!

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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Nevertheless at Thy Word

February 16, 2009

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Peter was a professional, experienced, seasoned fisherman, and he had toiled all night without catching anything. He was done; he and his partners had already come to shore and cleaned their nets for the day. It was at this time that the Lord Jesus Christ arrived giving the command,

Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch(Luke 5:4).

Peter was so tired, for he had worked all night. Peter had already cleaned his nets. How greatly all of Peter’s being must have cried out for him not to launch out again! His professional experience must have cried, “No!” His weary mind, body, heart – every core part of him must have demanded a compelling, “No!” Every fiber of his being must have been in active protest. After all, what does the son of a carpenter really know about fishing anyway?

Peter’s response was truly amazing. By faith he said,

Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Yourword I will let down the net (Luke 5:5).

The result was equally astounding.

And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink (Luke 5:6-7).

Here is a lesson for us. We, too, should believe the words of our Lord over everything else – over our training, our intellect, our experiences, our circumstances, and our feelings. Though the very core of our beings may cry and protest out to the contrary, we can respond, “Nevertheless at Your word …”

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook

Seismic Shift in Understanding

February 10, 2009

No is almost always our first response to God. Especially when God wants us to think or act in a new way …

Peter’s vision [in Acts chapter 10] represented a seismic shift in the popular understanding of God’s grace. Such shifts unsettle the world …

It’s not easy to believe and act in opposition to your religious tradition. It earns you few friends and many enemies …

It’s helpful to remember we weren’t born with beliefs … We were taught what to believe …

The problem is our tendency to carve our beliefs in stone. We too easily adopt uncompromising attitudes and replace once-cherished beliefs with a new collection of rigid assumptions. We forget life is a series of experiences that continually challenge the beliefs we hold sacred …

I’ve learned that asking why is never being unfaithful. Why we believe is every bit as important as what we believe. I once focused on what I believed and gave little thought to why I believed it.

Philip Gulley / James Mulholland
If Grace Is True, pages 23-24, 27, 30-31

Systematic Theology

February 10, 2009

The Bible is not a textbook in systematic theology. It rarely, if ever, addresses our theological questions in a systematic way. Not even … Paul does this with any degree of persistence. In any (traditional) systematic theology, you will find a systematic discussion of such Christian doctrines as the Incarnation, the Trinity, the Atonement, and the Final Judgment, but you will not find anything like that in the Bible, not even in the New Testament; and Christians now sometimes fail to appreciate, it seems to me, how easy it is simply to read the traditional formulation of these doctrines back into the New Testament.

Thomas Talbott
The Inescapable Love of God, page 53

Nose-Led in Heathen Learning

February 10, 2009

Tyndale expressed his dissatisfaction with the teaching of theology at universities:

In the universities they have ordained that no man shall look on the Scripture until he be nose-led in heathen learning eight or nine years, and armed with false principles with which he is clean shut out of the understanding of the Scripture.

A.N.S. Lane
Great Leaders of the Christian Church
William Tyndale and the English Bible, page 202

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