ST. JAMES THE JUST
OF JERUSALEM SPIRITUAL CENTER

[dedicated to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, His way, the early Christians, those Orthodox fathers who defended Christ against heretical attack, the martyrs and leaders of the Protestant Reformation, and contemporary seekers of the Lord's Truth]

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© Pr. Photios (W) 2006-2014

(most recent spiritual update on December 17, 2014 - 581,097 characters including spaces on this page)


HOLY SCRIPTURE/INTERPRETATION & CONFESSIONS OF FAITH

Pastor Photios' Personal Choice: GENEVA BIBLE OF 1587 WITH MARGINAL NOTES BY THE REFORMERS (KINDLE)
Sir Lancelot Brenton, THE SEPTUAGINT (1884)
George M. Lamas, HOLY BIBLE (Translation from the Aramaic of the Peshitta)
NOOK e-book of
AUTHORISED KING JAMES VERSION OF 1611

Messianic Jew David H. Stern's translation of the COMPLETE JEWISH BIBLE (1998)
(Tanakh and B'Rit Hadashah-Old and New Testaments)

Messianic Jew David H. Stern's JEWISH NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY (1992)
John Calvin (1509-1564), BIBLICAL COMMENTARIES

THREE FORMS OF UNITY:
THE BELGIC CONFESSION OF FAITH (1561)
THE HEIDELBERG CATECHISM (1563)
THE CANONS OF DORDT (1618-1619)


CHRISTIAN CLASSICS:

John Bunyan (1628-1688), his classic THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
Anonymous, Nineteenth-Century Russian (in English) Orthodox spiritual classic, THE WAY OF A PILGRIM & THE PILGRIM CONTINUES HIS WAY


FROM PASTOR PHOTIOS

Our change inwardly must be more than merely outward ceremonial aspects of Christianity. Begin with working on humility and the denial of self. God will do the rest if you let Him into your lives.The Holy Spirit works in the hearts of all true believers. Listen to Him and follow in the footsteps of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Be prepared to suffer and pay even the ultimate price. Be constant in your faith, stand and deliver but, remember, standing and delivering for the Lord requires we turn the other cheek. The 'weaker' we appear to this world (that of the devil), the stronger we are in Christ. Christ came for His chosen people, the poor in spirit, the downtrodden, sinners all. If the world hates us, we know we must be doing something right!

Thank you for continuing to visit this spiritual website.

May the Lord bless your reading and guide you in applying His commandments/instructions every day of your lives.

In Christ,

Pastor Dr. Photios
Spiritual Director

St. James the Just of Jerusalem Spiritual Center


Statement by Pastor Photios:

Obama and his cronies are engaged in an ongoing persecution of our Lord Jesus Christ. Americans! Do two things in this order:

(1) Choose now with your hearts for our Lord Jesus Christ and follow Him; and

(2) Support and vote for United States Senator Ted Cruz of Texas for President of the United States in 2016.


SPIRITUAL TIDBITS


ALL CHANGES ON THIS WEBSITE ARE INSERTED IMMEDIATELY BELOW BEGINNING WITH THE MOST RECENT


[December 17, 2014]

COURAGEOUS KURDS IN IRAG LOVE AMERICA!


[December 10, 2014]

BRIEF COMMENTS BY

Pastor Photios:

"If you are a true believer in Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, you follow Christ's teachings and way of living in love for your neighbors, including your 'enemies', not that of this world. How do we truly follow Him? As if we were a child. Live His way, and your example will affect others around you. No doubt about it, for this is God's will."

[December 5, 2014]

"Be vigilant to ensure that external formalities not replace your inward spiritual worship of Him. Do not unduly 'worry' about rote knowledge of the Scriptures. After all, the unbelieving (in Christ) Jews 'knew' the Scriptures, or so they thought. But Christ pointed out that their 'understanding' was spiritually deficient. If the Holy Spirit indwells in your heart, which He does in believers' hearts, He will protect you from merely Pharisaical understanding of Christ's requirements."


[November 26, 2014]

THIS THANKSGIVING REMEMBER THE SOUL LIBERTARIAN ROGER WILLIAMS (c. 1603-1683): FOUNDER OF RHODE ISLAND AND APOSTLE OF THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

Ian Williams Goddard (eighth-great-grandson of Roger Williams), ROGER WILLIAMS
Champion of Liberty


[November 25, 2014]

Contemporary Muslim author Harun Yahya (Adnan Oktar) on TRUE JIHAD:

The exact meaning of "Jihad" is "effort". Thus, in Islam, "to carry out jihad" is "to show effort, to struggle". The Prophet Muhammad (saas) explained that "the greatest jihad is the one a person carries out against his lower soul". What is meant by "lower soul" here is selfish desires and ambitions.
Assessed from the Qur'anic point of view, the word "jihad" can also mean a struggle carried out on intellectual grounds against those who oppress people, treat them unjustly, subject them to torture and cruelty and violate legitimate human rights. The purpose of this struggle is to bring about justice, peace and equality.
The use of the concept of "jihad" for acts of aggression against innocent people, that is for terror, is unjust and a great distortion of the true meaning of the term.

[ISLAM DENOUNCES TERRORISM (Kindle Locations 336-342). Amal Press. Kindle Edition.]

KINDLE EDITION FOR $0.99


[November 21, 2014]

George Whitefield (1714-1770), CHRIST THE ONLY REST FOR THE WEARY AND HEAVY LADEN (Matt. 11:28 - Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.)


[November 17, 2014]

JESUS CHRIST IS DIVINE!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

"The theme of John’s Gospel is the Deity of the Savior. Here, as nowhere else in Scripture so fully, the Godhood of Christ is presented to our view. That which is outstanding in this fourth Gospel is the Divine Sonship of the Lord Jesus. In this book we are shown that the One who was heralded by the angels to the Bethlehem shepherds, who walked this earth for thirty-three years, who was crucified at Calvary, who rose in triumph from the grave, and who forty days later departed from these scenes, was none other than the Lord of glory. The evidence for this is overwhelming, the proofs almost without number, and the effect of contemplating them must be to bow our hearts in worship before ‘the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ’ (Titus 2:13)."

[Pink, Arthur W. (1886-1952) (2012-06-18). The Gospel of John (Arthur Pink Collection), Prisbrary Publishing. Kindle Edition, CHRIST, THE ETERNAL WORD]

According to Arthur W. Pink, Jesus Christ has many Divine titles, including "the Word" (John 1:1), maker of all things (John 1:3), "the life" (John 1:4), and "the light" (see John 1:5 and 1 John 1:5).

Per Pink: "The conclusion, then, is irresistible, the proof complete and final, that the Lord Jesus Christ is none other than God, the Second Person in the Holy Trinity."

The Gospel of John by Pink is available in a Kindle edition for $0.99 on amazon.com. It is a tremendous work!


[November 11, 2014]

BE ASSURED THAT

"If you have put away sin and asked the Spirit to dwell in you, believe that He does and that you are the temple of the living God! You have been sealed with the Holy Spirit; He is the assurance of your Father's love."

[Andrew Murray, South African evangelist (1828-1917), THE INDWELLING SPIRIT (Minneapolis, MN, Bethany House Publishers, 2006), Chapter 24, The Temple of the Holy Spirit, p. 222)]

Relevant Scripture: Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16


[November 3, 2014]

HAVE FAITH AND OBEY!

"A man came to our Savior with a withered hand. The Savior knew his desire to be healed. He said, 'Stretch forth thy hand': the man did so, and it was made whole. If he had argued he would not have been healed. He did not want to argue with his Savior. He was able to stretch forth his hand. I must do the same and believe the truth. We shall see wonderful things if (Emphasis supplied) we obey."

[Sundar Singh (1889-1929), Christian Sadhu (ed: meaning 'holy man'), cited from B.H. Streeter and A.J. Appasamy, THE MESSAGE OF SADHU SUNDAR SINGH: A Study In Mysticism On Practical Religion, New York, THE MACMILLAN COMPANY, 1922, Chapter VII, THE HEART AND THE HEAD]


[October 25, 2014]

BE A CHRIST FOLLOWER!

Pastor Photios:

"And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men (Mark 1:17). And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed (Emphasis supplied) him (Mark 1:18)."
Yet, this was not to be an easy journey. He warned that His followers would have a dangerous row to hoe: "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it (Mark 8:35). For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36)
Following Him, then, meant traveling in His footsteps. This is much more than simply admiring Christ. Even if one 'admires' Him, can this person be relied upon to truly follow Him? Not necessarily and history strongly suggests, not often. Being a lukewarm, nominal supporter of Our Lord is not enough. By His own words, is this so! The great Christian, Soren Kierkegaard, expressed the difference between an admirer and follower of Christ this way: "And yet there is an infinite difference between an admirer and a follower, for a follower is, or at least strives to be, what he admires (Emphasis supplied)." [Soren Kierkegaard, TRAINING IN CHRISTIANITY]
Many so-called Christians in the West (particularly Americans) today express looks of incredulity when they are told that they must be willing to, and indeed, sacrifice as a follower of Christ; and, it horrifies the overwhelming majority of these so-called Christians that such sacrifice might in fact include one's death. What an insult to the martyrs of His way!
Be a real follower of Him; otherwise, you are not a true Christian. Pray to Him to strengthen us for whatever tests He has in store for us: remember He is absolutely sovereign. Pray too for the hundreds of thousands of Christians persecuted and subject to massacring yearly across the world. Pray also that the Lord 'bring forth' religious tolerance in the hearts of all people.


[October 17, 2014]

A CROWN THE MORE GLORIOUS

"In brief-all sorrows and torments, which the soul suffers during inner temptations and the dearth of spiritual comforts and delights, are nothing but a purifying remedy; by their means God in His loving-kindness cleanses the soul if (Emphasis supplied) it endures them with humility and patience. And these torments ensure for such patient sufferers a crown which is gained only through them, a crown the more glorious the more painful the torments suffered by the heart."

[UNSEEN WARFARE, edited by Nicodemus (1749-1809) of the Holy Mountain {Mount Athos} and revised by Theophan the Recluse (1815-1894), Crestwood, NY, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Paperback Edition, Third printing 2000, PART TWO, Chapter Twenty-Five, p. 276.]


[October 7, 2014]

SOUND SPIRITUAL ADVICE FOR ALL PEOPLE!

Imam Ali (600-661) says
"If your aspiration ascends to the reforming of the people, begin with yourself, for your pursuit of the reform of others, when your own soul is corrupt, is the greatest of faults."

[Dr. Shah-Kazemi, Reza (2006-06-28). Justice and Remembrance: Introducing the Spirituality of Imam Ali (Kindle Locations 2841-2842). I.B.Tauris. Kindle Edition.]


[October 5, 2014]

A.W. Pink (1886-1952) on THE LORD'S PRAYER


[October 2, 2014]

OBITUARY OF AN UNRELENTING FOLLOWER OF LORD JESUS CHRIST

PREACHER AND POLITICIAN IAN PAISLEY


[October 1, 2014]

PERFECT INNOCENCE:

There are many ways, means, and preparations, whereby we may gain reunion and fellowship with God. But the nearest way of all, and the easiest means, yes, the tiny point where this union is actually achieved , is when we become little children (Emphasis supplied). The Son of God became one with mankind as a child, and mankind can only be united to God in the state of spiritual childhood. And, indeed, dear sister , the baby Jesus constrains us once again to enter with Him into the most perfect innocence of the childlike mind. So, away with all scruples, brooding, suspicion, unrest, and all lovelessness.

[Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769), The Quiet Way: A Christian Path to Inner Peace (The Spiritual Classics Series) (p. 35). World Wisdom. Kindle Edition.]


[September 30, 2014]

TO BE A CHRISTIAN

"St. Paul, intending to describe a Christian in a few words, says: 'The end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.' 1 Tim. 1:5. As if he had said: To be a Christian, and to render ourselves acceptable in the sight of God, requires nothing hard and lofty; no worldly wisdom, no human learning, no great parts, no gift of prophesying, no eloquence, no knowledge of tongues, no miracles: but only that a man have faith in Christ; that he do all things in love, and with a mind wholly resigned to God; and that he suffer himself to be led and governed by the good Spirit of God."

[Johann Arndt (1555-1621), TRUE CHRISTIANITY (Kindle Locations 3186-3190)]


[September 24, 2014]

BEING 'SIMPLE' IS SPIRITUALLY BENEFICIAL

"Far from being incapable of this perfection, the simple ones are especially qualified to obtain it because of their innocence, humility, and willingness to learn. Also, since they do not analyze and reason everything out, they do not hold stubbornly to their own opinions. Because of that, they submit more freely to the teachings of the Holy Spirit. Others, however, who are cramped and blinded by self-sufficiency, offer much greater resistance to the operations of grace."

[Madame Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717)]


[September 18, 2014]

A QUESTION FOR ALL OF US

"God is long-suffering as He watches people viciously exploit one another and selfishly ravage His creation. But there is coming a day when unbelieving sinners will be punished and God's people will share in the glories of His kingdom. Are you ready?" (Emphases supplied)

[Warren W. Wiersbe (b. 1929 - ), BE COMFORTED (An Old Testament Study of Isaiah, First Edition, Paperback), 1992, Chapter Two (Isaiah 1-6), p. 25.]


[September 10, 2014]

CALVINISM

"We close with the statement that this great system of religious thought which bears Calvin's name is nothing more or less than the hope of the world."

[Mr. Loraine Boettner (1901-1990), THE REFORMED DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION (1932), last sentence of final chapter on CALVINISM IN HISTORY]


[August 28, 2014]

THE SPIRIT WITHIN

"...the law, the flesh, and self-effort are all utterly useless in enabling us to serve God. It is the Spirit within, taking the place of the law, that leads us into the liberty through which Christ has made us free. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

[Andrew Murray (1828-1917), THE INDWELLING SPIRIT, (Bethany House Publishers, Paperback Edition, 2006), Chapter 17, pp.159-160]


[August 19, 2014]

Pastor Photios:

WE SHOULD CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING CAREFULLY IN OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES!

Faith without works is dead (See the discussion in James 2: 14-26). Good works are the fruits of true faith. If you are intentionally sinning against the Lord's Commandments, you are disobeying God. If you do not repent and cease these sinful activities or thoughts and still purport to offer your prayers to Him, He will not answer them when they are offered up within a dishonourable cocoon of sin. [See Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898), OUR INEFFECTUAL PRAYERS, sermon with reference to Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss James 4:3,
delivered near Mossy Creek, Augusta, VA. in May, 1862 to the 44th Va. Regiment.]

As renowned preacher Dabney points out, in circumstances where the 'praying' person approaches Him whilst being an intentional sinner, God's "honor and purity cannot permit Him to communicate Himself to the rebel who is outraging his law and holiness by intentional sin" (All emphases supplied). Such a prayer is ineffectual; it really isn't a prayer at all.

Dabney concludes his sermon with a highly relevant paragraph, even more vividly so today, August 19, 2014, than in 1862:

"He who only offers ineffectual prayers virtually does not pray at all. How many, by this rule, are leading prayerless lives! A Christian without prayer! Sorrowful anomaly! He is separated from the only fountain of life. He is a branch severed from the vine-stock. Brethren, we must pray, with 'the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous', or we perish!"


[August 10, 2014]

Margaret Fell (1614-1702), George Fox's wife, who was rather widely considered as the "mother of Quakerism", spiritually and scripturally proves that women can, do, and should speak!

WOMEN'S SPEAKING

Pastor Photios:

Margaret Fell Fox's stunning spiritual statement should shame us all; including particularly, the 'old boy' religious hierarchy that continues to ignore, or minimise, the scriptural evidence supporting the right of God-fearing and believing women to speak/proclaim the Lord's message.


[August 9, 2014]

Inspirational Words to All Children of God from Quaker Founder George Fox (1624-1691):

THE SEALED EPISTLE OF GEORGE FOX


[August 4, 2014]

DEALING WITH YOUR 'ENEMY':

Matthew 5:43-48, King James Version (KJV)

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father Who is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans do the same?
47 And if ye salute your friends only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father Who is in heaven is perfect.


[July 24, 2014]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

"The true lover of God keeps his love silently hidden in his heart, like a seed sown in the ground; and if the seedling grows, it grows in his actions towards his fellow-man. He cannot act except with kindness, he cannot feel anything but forgiveness; every movement he makes, everything he does, speaks of his love, but not his lips."

Hazrat Inayat Khan, Sufi (1882-1927)


[July 20, 2014]

THE LIFE OF JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688)


[July 11, 2014]

WE NEED A GODLY MAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE, LIKE GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER


[July 10, 2014]

DON'T DECEIVE YOURSELF!

“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
[Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard]


[July 9, 2014]

THE HUMILITY OF JESUS
(WITH SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES)


[July 7, 2014]

ARE WE JUST 'PLAYING AT CHRISTIANITY'?

SOREN KIERKEGAARD

CHEAP GRACE

DIETRICH BONHOEFFER


[June 26, 2014]

SCRIPTURAL UNITY & HARMONY

J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), evangelical Anglican and first Bishop of Liverpool, in OLD PATHS, Chapter 1. INSPIRATION (GLH Publishing, Kindle edition):

There is an extraordinary unity and harmony in the contents of the Bible, which is entirely above man. We all know how difficult it is to get a story told by any three persons, not living together, in which there are not some contradictions and discrepancies. If the story is a long one, and involves a large quantity of particulars, unity seems almost impossible among the common run of men. But it is not so with the Bible. Here is a long book written by not less than thirty different persons. The writers were men of every rank and class in society. One was a lawgiver. One was a warlike king. One was a peaceful king. One was a herdsman. One had been brought up as a publican, another as a physician, another as a learned Pharisee, two as fishermen , several as priests. They lived at different intervals over a space of 1500 years; and the greater part of them never saw each other face to face. And yet there is a perfect harmony among all these writers! They all write as if they were under one dictation. The style and hand-writing may vary, but the mind that runs through their work is always one and the same. They all tell the same story. They all give one account of man, one account of God, one account of the way of salvation, one account of the human heart. You see truth unfolding under their hands, as you go through the volume of their writings, but you never detect any real contradiction, or contrariety of view. Let us set down this fact in our minds, and ponder it well. Tell us not that this unity might be the result of chance. No one can ever believe that but a very credulous person. There is only one satisfactory account to be given of the fact before us. The Bible is not of man, but of God.


[June 18, 2014]

John Knox (c. 1514-1572), A TREATISE ON PRAYER


[June 8, 2014]

PENTECOST SUNDAY

It is fitting to read, today, a tribute to the theologian of the Holy Spirit, John Calvin: "Above everything else he deserves, therefore, the great name of the theologian of the Holy Spirit."

Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921), CALVIN AS A THEOLOGIAN
"It is the heart that makes the theologian."
"The doctrine of the work of the Holy Spirit is a gift from Calvin to the Church."


[June 8, 2014]

DON'T BE ONE OF THESE!

"Lukewarm Christians make the Lord sick. We need to repent of half-hearted, worldly, superficial, materialistic, lethargic, self-centred, apathetic, cowardly, yellow-bellied, spineless, cheap grace and easy believism. We must repent of being evanjellyfish. We need doctrinal steel in our backbones and Holy Spirit fire in our bellies!"

Dr. Peter Hammond, South African Missionary, from his sermon THE FIRE OF GOD on PENTECOST SUNDAY


[June 6, 2014]

Pastor Photios, A CRY FOR CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS TO LOVE AND UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER BETTER AS A FIRST STEP TOWARD GOD'S PEACE:

Imam Ali (599-661), First Imam of the Shia Muslims and Fourth Rightly-Guided Caliph of the Sunni Muslims, stands tall in Islamic history as a most remarkable Christ-like spiritual figure as well as its most valiant and undefeated physical warrior. Emir Abd el-Kader of Algeria (1808-1883), spiritually followed in Ali's footsteps, valiantly fighting the French invaders of his country of Algeria for fifteen years. His heroic and noble conduct to his battlefield enemies was legendary. Later, in an 1860 uprising in Damascus, he protected and thus was responsible for saving 10,000 to 15,000 Christians from certain massacring. He was considered a great hero by the French people and the rest of the world for this selfless endeavour; France awarded him its Legion of Honour for his efforts; the town of Elkader, Iowa is named after him; and Abraham Lincoln presented him with a gift of two pistols for his valiant conduct. Imam Shamil (1797-1871), Lion of Dagestan, fought the Russians for several decades in a defensive Jihad against their aggression. This legendary Muslim Sufi wrote a letter to Emir el-Kader fully supporting the latter's defense of the thousands of Christians under attack in Damascus. He supported his armed defense against the massacring of the innocent Christians, who el-Kader labeled as 'his brothers'. Shamil considered his defense of the Christians as fully and spiritually justified by true Islamic principles. Imam Ali, Emir Abd el-Kader, and Imam Shamil were all magnanimous Godly people; all hated war but nevertheless due to defensive circumstances were required to fight to defend their Faith (for details, see biographies on the Internet of all three).
Ali was Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law. What, then, should Christians think about the Islamic Prophet Muhammad? If we accept that Imam Ali, Emir Abd el-Kader and Imam Shamil acted in a Godly manner throughout their lives, then what do we say about Muhammad? We can see through the witness of Ali's life his Christ-like spiritual qualities, as can also be said of Emir el-Kader and Imam Shamil, and, in fact, also of Saladin (1137-1193), who reconquered Jerusalem and displayed his spiritual chivalry in the aftermath of his victory. These Islamic spiritual and physical warriors acted throughout their lives in a Godly chivalrous manner according to true Islamic principles. What, then, should be our Christian opinion of their Prophet Muhammad? Is your answer to this question different now than it was yesterday?


[May 29, 2014]

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), "The People's Preacher," THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST


[May 27, 2014]

WE CAN WORSHIP GOD ANYWHERE!

Pastor Photios:
Sometimes we get all bound up in buildings or other specific places to worship Him. After all, that may be the most common historical trend, to meet and worship in houses, churches, or other designated places. Then, through time, these structures become larger and perhaps ornate. But these are all spiritually unnecessary. Christ does not require you to meet in a specific place, or a place of splendour, to follow His Way. He is never absent from His followers/believers. His Kingdom is within us, 1 Corinthinians 3:16: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?


[May 20, 2014]

THE SCOTTISH CONFESSION BY JOHN KNOX (A.D. 1560)
(In particular, see Chapter 9 - Christ's Death, Passion and Burial, Chapter 10 - The Resurrection, and Chapter 11 - THE ASCENSION)


[May 12, 20124]

Imam Ali (c. 600-661), ON FORGIVENESS

"Forgiveness is at its best when you forgive while you have the upper hand."


[May 10, 2014]

A biography of the Christlike Non-Christian, Founder of Sikhism, GURU NANAK (1469-1539)


[April 29, 2014]

Bishop John A. Subhan (1897-1977), HOW A SUFI FOUND HIS LORD
(Reading the Gospel changed his life forever!)


EASTER

[April 19, 2014]
John Calvin (1509-1564), SERMON ON THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST (John 1:1-5)
[April 18, 2014]
A.W. Pink (1886-1952), THE TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF MAN
[April 16, 2014]
A.W. Pink (1886-1952), (Spiritually profound: what it means to really follow the Lord Jesus Christ!), THE CROSS AND SELF
[April 14, 2014]
George Whitefield (1714-1770), THE POWER OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION
[April 12, 2014]
Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), CHRIST OUR PASSOVER


[April 9, 2014]

Pastor Photios:

At this time of year, it is important to stress Our Lord Jesus Christ's message of love and forgiveness. We are to love our enemies, or perceived ones, and our neighbours and family. It is easier to love our families than our enemies, but Christ calls us to a higher spiritual standard. Our political and church leaders, often seem more interested in size/growth, money, power, status, asset accumulation, domination; i.e., those things of this world, than with His Way. You and I, as Christians, are to practise in our daily lives what He preached in the Gospels. Jesus died for believers' sins, making a full substitution for them on the cross. His Father did not force or coerce Him in any way. He went to the cross as a volunteer. So, remember, as practising Christians, we are expected to suffer in our Christian spiritual path. How many of us are willing to do so? Probably, more than we would think, but we won't know until we are confronted with a trial that He will put along our path. After all, the Lord tests our spiritual mettle throughout our lives in order to see what, really, will be our response to adversity. Will we stand the test as the martyrs of the Church, e.g., Stephen, James the Just, Peter, Paul and the other apostles and disciples, did? Will we stand and deliver for our Lord as Martin Luther did? Are we willing to die for our Faith? If you and I are ever given the chance to physically survive if and only if we deny that Christ is our Lord and Saviour, what will we do? The question is simple. Our answer must be spiritually honourable. We must not dishonour the great martyrs of the Lord. We must be willing to give our lives for Him as He did for us on the cross.

Here is a glorious spiritual example of one who stood tall and delivered for his faith. He was a Muslim sheikh who shook the nineteenth-century world with his pure faith in God. His enemies on the battlefield became some of his greatest admirers. He was a great Muslim Sufi who lived his faith nobly and graciously in all respects. He appeared quite Christlike to many Christians: the legendary Emir Abd el-Kader of Algeria (1808-1883). In an 1860 uprising, he saved 10,000-15,000 Christians from massacre in Damascus by placing them under his protection. During this encounter, he refused to hand over the Christians saying: "Wretches, Is this the way you honour the Prophet? Not a Christian will I give up. They are my brothers (Emphasis supplied). Stand back, or I give my men the order to fire." Elkader, Iowa is named after him:

Jonathan Gornall, SALUTING ISLAM'S MERCIFUL WARRIOR


Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/news/saluting-islams-merciful-warrior#full#ixzz2yRk1oAjc Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook [March 31, 2014]

John Calvin (1509-1564), CALVIN ON REGENERATION (Emphasis supplied) FROM HIS COMMENTARY ON JOHN


[March 26, 2014]

DIETRICH BONHOEFFER: German theologian and resister
(1906-1945)


[March 11, 2014]

Dr. Tom Ascol, FOUNDERS JOURNAL, CALVIN AND THE ATONEMENT


[March 3, 2014]

Compare this disgusting example of excess ARCHBISHOP'S MILLION-DOLLAR RETREAT ANGERS NEW JERSEY FAITHFUL with the following way of life accepted and actually lived by Imam Ali, cousin of the founder of Islam, Muhammad, and first compiler of the Qur'an:

IMAM ALI'S SIMPLE LIFESTYLE

Pastor Photios (a 'no-brainer' query):

Which lifestyle more closely resembles that of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?


[March 2, 2014]

Rev. Angus Stewart, JOHN CALVIN ON THE WONDER OF THE PSALMS


[February 20, 2014]

BEAUTY: WHAT IS IT REALLY?

"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." (I. Peter 3:3-4)

Pr. Photios:
What constitutes the real Christian 'you' are not symbols of the secular world; rather, a Christian is distinguished by those factors which lead to Christ Our Saviour, not to the gods of the marketplace. Our spiritual compass will be His Commandments and teachings, not those grossly-lower secular values of this world! As Christians, we are not to blithely follow what is 'trendy' at any given time in the market fleshpot. Women and men, particularly in the Western modernistic world, spend much of their time and money aping this world's 'cultural' standards. The single quotes emphasise that the world's standards are not truly cultural at all. Much of these 'fashions' are paganistically oriented and/or derived; many intend to stimulate hedonism and border on, if not being outright, blasphemy. Today's 'apparel'(or lack thereof) seems to be grounded in some form of rebellion against the Lord (e.g., think Miley Cyrus). We are not to foster the vulgarity of this world if we, truly, are, Christ's followers.
Women: do not adorn yourselves from Satan's marketplace for it is simply a facade; it is not the real you. As a true Christian, you are set apart to follow Christ and His way. His is the way of meekness, humility, quietude, and suffering. Christ suffered for His people, and we owe Him reciprocity. Let's live up to what He expects! Reject the secular marketplace, e.g., don't whine about how much older you look than you would like (God doesn't care how old you look or are), wear your own hair and be satisfied with it, not a wig. I.e., grow up. You're a Christian, a dedicated disciple of Christ. Then, act like one!


[February 16, 2014]

REMEMBER THAT:

"Having a teacher is optimal as long as that one is not a false teacher. In which case, it would be better to proceed without one."
Pastor Photios


[February 5, 2014]

[1] Rev. C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR (1857)
"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 19:19)

[2] BIBLE VERSES ABOUT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR (KJV)

[3] ABOUT CHARLES SPURGEON


[January 28, 2014]

Imam Ali (c. 600-661), cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, just two of his wonderfully spiritual sayings from his classic NAHJUL BALAGHA:
"I wonder at a man who loses hope of salvation when the door of repentance is open for him." but remember " It is wiser to abstain than to repent."

[See NAHJUL BALAGHA, PART 1, THE SERMONS and PART 2, LETTERS AND SAYINGS]


[January 22, 2014]

Legendary Northern Ireland Preacher Dr. Ian R. K. Paisley (1926-), CULT OF MARY - PART ONE
CULT OF MARY - PART TWO


[January 21, 2014]

A. W. Pink (1886-1952), Exposition of the Gospel of John, Chapter 4, CHRIST'S FORERUNNER (John 1:19-34)


[January 17, 2014]

SLEEPING AROUND?

Comments by Pastor Photios:

Remember this: True Christians do not recognise the "sexual revolution". Those who follow Christ must reject the devil's callings of the secular world. So, a question - are you sleeping around? Do you consider sexual relations to be as common as a handshake; or, at least, permissible, just part of 'growing up'? Are you living (playing house) with your 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend,' i.e., to share sexual favours as well as expenses? Do your parents condone this behaviour, yet consider themselves to be Christians? Do you have a crucifix of Christ dangling from your car's rearview mirror to 'demonstrate' to others, apparently, your faith and, yet, are unmarried and having sexual relations with your 'other'? As Christians, we are to follow the spiritual principle that sexual relations are part of, and restricted to, the marriage relationship between a man and a woman. God will not be mocked. Tell your 'other' you can't continue having sex because it is not allowed by Our Lord outside the holy boundaries of marriage.
If your 'partner' then 'explains' that other people do it all the time, just tell him to go get one of them. I.e., put your 'partner's so-called love for you to the test! If you never see this person again, then consider yourself blessed.
Pastors: when your parishioners/members of the congregation come to you for pastoral advice on this matter, what do you tell them, the Lord's Way, or some 'compromise' with the world? Do you allow fornicating unmarried churchgoers to take Communion without repentance for this sin? If they will not repent and do not consider it a sin, then explain it from the Scriptures. If they then won't repent and change their conduct, bar them from the church assembly until they change their ways.

Men: Quit 'thinking' with your sexual organ and respect your loved one. If you love her, marry her. Women: Quit debasing yourselves and being mere sex objects. If your 'man' tells you he expects sex or else he walks, show him the door immediately!

This clearcut Christian way may be difficult. But following Our Lord was not meant to be easy. The Lord many times puts us through trials and tribulations as He did the Jews, to test our faith. As Christians, we are called upon to suffer for Christ; remember, He went to the Cross for our sins.


[January 5, 2014]

SANCTIFICATION WITNESSES FOR US ON JUDGMENT DAY!

"Sanctification is a thing which will be found absolutely necessary as a witness to our character in the great day of judgment. It will be utterly useless to plead that we believed in Christ, unless our faith has had some sanctifying effect and been seen in our lives. Evidence, evidence, evidence, will be the one thing wanted when the great white throne is set, when the books are opened, when the graves give up their tenants, when the dead are arraigned before the bar of God. Without some evidence that our faith in Christ was real and genuine, we shall only rise again to be condemned. I can find no evidence that will be admitted in that day except sanctification. The question will not be how we talked and what we professed but how we lived and what we did (Emphasis supplied). Let no man deceive himself on this point. If anything is certain about the future, it is certain that there will be a judgment; and if anything is certain about judgment, it is certain that men's 'works' and 'doings' will be considered and examined in it (John 5:29; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:13). He that supposes works are of no importance, because they cannot justify us, is a very ignorant Christian. Unless he opens his eyes, he will find to his cost that if he comes to the bar of God without some evidence of grace, he had better never have been born (Emphasis supplied)."

[Anglican Bishop J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), HOLINESS: ITS NATURE, HINDRANCES, DIFFICULTIES, AND ROOTS (Peabody, MA: Henrickson Publishers, 2007), Ch. 2. Sanctification, pp. 28-29.]


[December 29, 2013]

WHY DID CHRIST BECOME MAN?

"Christ did not become man in order to save this world which abides in wickedness. Rather, He came to save His own (Emphasis supplied) from the world, to pull them away from the ranks of the evil one, to unite them to Himself and to deify them by grace, and with them to save the entire groaning creation. The world is walking the way of death. It is following the ruler of this world, the enemy of God. 'I do not pray for the world, but for those whom Thou hast given Me' (John 9:17)."

[Dr. Alexandre Kalomiros, AGAINST FALSE UNION, (Seattle, Washington, St. Nectarios Press, Second Edition, 1978, Revised Appendix, 2000), Chapter One, IV. Salvation from the World, p. 7.]


[December 17, 2013]

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), THE DOCTRINE OF THE INCARNATION
(excellent discussion)


[December 6, 2013]

John Calvin (1509-1564), SERMON ON THE NATIVITY OF JESUS CHRIST


[December 4, 2013]

One of History's Greatest Spiritual Heroes: Pastor Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001), Founder, Voice of the Martyrs

Please read the stirring spiritual account of his persecution by the Communists during fourteen years in a Romanian prison:

TORTURED FOR CHRIST
(Available as a Kindle book at www.amazon.com for $1 - The best $1 you will ever spend! Pr. Photios)


[December 2, 2013]

Leonard Ravenhill, GEORGE FOX - THE UNSHAKABLE SHAKER

George's terrific autobiography: GEORGE FOX An Autobiography

George Fox, Founder of the Quakers (1624-1691)


[November 27, 2013]

Pastor Photios:

REMEMBER THE GREATEST AMERICAN IN HISTORY AT THANKSGIVING!

Only one historical figure, other than our Lord Jesus Christ, is responsible for the 'American Dream:' Roger Williams (c. 1603-1684). In his time, he was the only advocate of the principle of separation and state. To the European mind, it apparently had not occurred that the magistrate had no business interfering in the private religious opinions and conduct of the populace. The Reformers, as time passed, simply substituted their prejudices and persecution, including death sentences and execution, for those who had so persecuted them. The Puritans had flown to 'New England' running from the established church, only to institute in the Massachusetts Bay Colony the same, or in some cases, even worse, tyranny. One shining star shone brightly and would not be extinguished, Roger Williams and his unshakeable belief that the magistrate/the judicial authorities, had no business being arbiter of one's conscience.

Roger Williams put the inspirational teachings of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ into operation:

"It is timely in the hour of democracy's triumph (Pr. Photios - after the First World War) to turn our thoughts toward the genius of soul-liberty (Emphasis supplied) in America. Today (1919) millions of men espouse her sacred cause. In the dawn of American history, in the early colonial times, a misunderstood, maligned, and persecuted refugee, Roger Williams, stood alone as her defender. Driven from motherland and from adopted home, he found among the savages of the wilderness a place where he could live out his principles of soul-liberty and grant freely to others what he desired for himself. He has been rightly called 'The First American,' because he was the first to actualize in a commonwealth the distinctively American principle of freedom for mind and body and soul.
Roger Williams was not the discoverer of the principle of soul-liberty. What Jesus did and said was the torch of truth destined to illumine the whole world. His death on the cross was the voice of God in eloquent terms, telling us that all men were equal sharers in his love and entitled to equal opportunities and privileges in the world which he had made for man's well-being. Christ taught clearly that men should not force others to belief in him or to Christian conduct, nor destroy those who failed to follow his teachings as they saw them (Emphasis supplied)."
[Arthur B. Strickland, ROGER WILLIAMS: Prophet And Pioneer Of Soul-Liberty, The Judson Press, 1919, Preface, pp.xii.]

(See THE STORY OF ROGER WILLIAMS )


[November 21, 2013]

WILLIAM FAREL (1489-1565): FIERY EVANGELIST OF THE REFORMATION


[November 12, 2013]

The Greatest Evangelist George Whitefield (1714-1770), WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST?


[November 10, 2013]

Fiery Protestant Reformer John Knox (c. 1505-1572), TREATISE ON PRAYER


[October 31, 2013]

THE LORD REVEALS HIS MYSTERIES OF FAITH ONLY TO THOSE WHO WOULD BE CHILDREN! (See Lk. 10: 21)

"The Lord rejoices with the incomprehensible joy of God at the success of men. He declares that the mysteries of the Christian faith are revealed not to the wise and exalted of the world, but to those who are children as regards civil affairs, such as were the Lord's disciples, taken from among the simple people, unlearned, illiterate. in order to become a disciple of the Lord we must become infants, and with child-like simplicity and love accept His teaching. To those who have become His disciples the Lord explains His most mystical teaching; He reveals that the Son, in spite of His assuming humanity, remains above the comprehension of all rational creatures. Above their comprehension also is His most holy name. With the simplicity and trust of children let us receive the teaching on prayer in the name of Jesus. With the simplicity and trust of children let us approach the practice of this prayer (ed: the Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.) God Who alone (emphasis supplied) fully knows the secret of it will give it us in a degree accessible to us. Let us give joy ('Let us gladden God,' see fn 1) to God by our labours and progress in the service which He has taught and commanded us."
[Bishop Ignatius (Brianchaninov) (1807-1867; canonised by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1988), ON THE PRAYER OF JESUS (Ibis Press paperback, 2006), p. 23.]


[October 30, 2013]

CHRISTIANS: BEWARE OF THE DEVIL AND HIS CENTRAL ROLE IN 'HALLOWEEN CELEBRATION'!

See

J. Kerby Anderson, CHRISTIAN ACTION, TEN REASONS CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN


[October 10, 2013]

Athanasius the Great's (297-373) classic ON THE INCARNATION
(Don't miss this spiritual masterpiece; Introduction by the tremendous Christian C.S. Lewis, Excerpt:
His epitaph is Athanasius contra mundum, "Athanasius against the world." We are proud that our own country has more than once stood against the world. Athanasius did the same. He stood for the Trinitarian doctrine, "whole and undefiled," when it looked as if all the civilised world was slipping back from Christianity into the religion of Arius—into one of those "sensible" synthetic religions which are so strongly recommended today and which, then as now, included among their devotees many highly cultivated clergymen. It is his glory that he did not move with the times; it is his reward that he now remains when those times, as all times do, have moved away.)


[inserted on September 30, 2013]

Comments by Pastor Photios:

OURSELVES

Don't look at others to see if they have changed themselves. Our concentration must be upon ourselves, our interior, our hearts. You and I must throw ourselves upon God's mercy. We need to love Our Lord as He loves us, totally, with absolute spiritual commitment, not the nominal, lukewarm Christianity that is infected with the secularism of the Devil. Difficult as it is, we should approach Christ with childlike love and devotion. Never be ashamed of your love for the Lord. Shout His name from every rooftop, reminding all within the range of our voices that Jesus Christ is the sole route of salvation and He will return in His Second Coming to square all spiritual accounts. How will He find you and me spiritually? When He reviews the evidence in our cases, will He be satisfied that we have 'walked the walk as well as talked the talk'? Will we have changed our hearts, softened them in consideration of our neighbours? Will there be evidence of our love for our enemies as well as our friends and casual acquaintances? In other words, will our faith in Christ have borne fruit, the fruit of following the Lord's commandments as well as believing in Him? Belief alone is not good enough; after all, the Evil One believes. Our Lord's Way is narrow, not broad. The world will hate us as it hates Him. We must suffer with Him as we take up the Cross and journey toward His Kingdom, which is not of this world. Are we 'too late' to spiritually soldier for Jesus? No, we can change our lives to follow Christ as we live out our temporary existence in this world. But NOW is the time, not later, to 'get with it'!
May the Lord bless us to avoid procrastination, which could be spiritually fatal.


[inserted on September 16, 2013]

Quote of Charles H. Spurgeon, Prince of Preachers (1834-1892): HOPE AND PRAY FOR CHRIST TO CLAIM YOU!

I do not come into this pulpit hoping that perhaps somebody will of his own free will return to Christ. My hope lies in another quarter. I hope that my Master will lay hold of some of them and say, "You are mine, and you shall be mine. I claim you for myself." My hope arises from the freeness of grace, and not from the freedom of the will.
[cited at THE SPURGEON ARCHIVE ]


[inserted on September 13, 2013]

GEORGE MUELLER (1805-1898) OF BRISTOL
[His faith never wavered]


[inserted on September 7, 2013]

AS CHRISTIANS, HOW SHOULD WE ARM OURSELVES?

"If you really desire to be victorious in this unseen warfare and be rewarded with a crown, you must plant in your heart the following four dispositions and spiritual activities, as it were arming yourself with invisible weapons, the most trustworthy and unconquerable of all, namely: (a) never rely on yourself in anything; (b) bear always in your heart a perfect and all-daring trust in God alone; (c) strive without ceasing; and (d) remain constantly in prayer."

[UNSEEN WARFARE (edited by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and revised by Theophan the Recluse), PART ONE, CHAPTER ONE, CHRISTIAN PERFECTION, p. 81.]


[inserted on August 30, 2013]

Dr. Alexandre Kalomiros (1931-c.1993), a short paragraph from his classic AGAINST FALSE UNION (Chapter Two, last para)
[Seattle, Washington: St. Nectarios Press, Second Edition, 1978], p. 52:

The pagan never hated the Christian as much as the "Christian" world does today. Formal tolerance is deceptive. The world tolerates only those so-called Christians who walk in step with it, those who try to apply a social Christianity and attempt to be always up-to-date. The others who do not agree to adulterate their Faith it hates. But the world's hate is a criterion for us to know if we are true Christians. "If they have hated Me, they shall hate you too."

Pastor Photios:
These words are truer today than ever before.


[inserted on August 24, 2013]

Prof. David J. Engelsma, CALVIN'S DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY (1989)


[inserted on August 11, 2013]

Photios the Great (820-891), his classic: THE MYSTAGOGY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
(To wit: The Holy Spirit proceeds only from the Father)


[inserted on August 9, 2013]

ONE PATH

Pastor Photios:
Christians believe in Jesus Christ as our Saviour. As followers of Jesus, we acknowledge that the sole route to our salvation is through Him:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me (John 14:6).
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

This does not mean that we, as followers of the Lord, are authorised to denigrate others (e.g., nonbelievers in Jesus as the Saviour), look down upon them, discriminate against them in any way, much less - perish the thought- engage in physical aggression/warfare to enforce our Christian views on others.
We are guided by what He said and did whilst on earth; and, we are to ask what He would do in every circumstance and then, be guided accordingly and do or not do it! No lesser standard of conduct is acceptable.


[inserted on July 23, 2013]

Dr. Peter Hammond, South African Evangelist, THE CURSE OF COWARDICE
AN ENTERTAINING BUT STILL PERFECTLY TRUE 'SLIDESHOW'


[inserted on July 17, 2013]

HAVE FAITH, GOD NEVER LOSES: "THE GREAT KINGDOM GOES TO THE 'LITTLE FLOCK.'"

"God always wins, even when He appears to lose. He does not have to win numerically to win spiritually.
The question is not how many souls are saved; nor is it the number who were willing to suffer for their faith. Jesus was under no illusion about the percentage of those who would turn out to be His true (emphasis supplied) followers. 'Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom' (Luke 12:32). The great kingdom goes to the 'little flock.'"

Erwin W. Lutzer, HITLER'S CROSS (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2012 Edition), p. 158.

Pastor Photios:
An excellent book, spiritually invaluable for America, particularly at this time!


[inserted on July 16, 2013]

Pastor Photios:

"We should spiritually concentrate upon the 'small' rather than the large; the fewer the numbers the greater the Faith in and constancy for Christ."


[inserted on July 10, 2013]

Bp. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) (1807-1867), ON PRACTICING THE JESUS PRAYER


[inserted on July 9, 2013]

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), great Welsh Calvinistic Methodist preacher in the George Whitefield (1714-1770) mode, BIOGRAPHY OF MARTYN LLOYD-JONES
[an excellent, very spiritual preacher of God's truth as Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) were before him]


[inserted on July 3, 2013]

THE MARTYRDOM OF POLYCARP OF SMYRNA


[inserted on July 1, 2013]

John Calvin (1509-1564), ON PRAYER
[Publisher: Chapel Library, Pensacola, FL - Taken from Calvin's INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION]


[inserted on June 30, 2013]

Madame Guyon (1648-1717) on SEEKING GOD :

"God does not contradict Himself. It is true that he who seeks God, yet is unwilling to forsake his sins, will not find Him. But he who seeks God and forsakes sin will certainly find Him." See more of her quotes at PRAYER QUOTES - MADAME GUYON


[inserted on June 27, 2013]

Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), FAITH AND REGENERATION (a sermon on March 5, 1871)


[inserted on June 17, 2013]

David Opperman writes on Robert Dabney (1820-1898), True Calvinist and defender of the South, ROBERT LEWIS DABNEY: A FORGOTTEN VISIONARY


[inserted on June 16, 2013]

George Whitefield (1714-1770), England's greatest evangelist, a sermon on THE POTTER AND THE CLAY
"You know what a body of sin and death you carry about with you, and that you must necessarily expect many turns of God's providence and grace, before you will be wholly delivered from it. But thanks be to God, we are in safe hands. He that has been the author, will also be the finisher of our faith."


[inserted on June 10, 2013]

IS YOUR NAME IN THE BOOK?

"Every choice, evidently and necessarily implies (emphasis supplied) a refusal, for where there is no leaving out there can be no choice. If there be some whom God has elected unto salvation (2 Thess. 2:13), there must be others who are not elected unto salvation. If there are some that the Father gave to Christ (John 6:37), there must be others whom He did not give unto Christ. If there are some whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life (Rev. 21:27), there must be others whose names are not written there."

[Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952), THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, Baker Books paperback edition (v. The Sovereignty of God in Reprobation), p. 82.]


[inserted on June 5, 2013]

Andre Trocme (1901-1971), French Calvinist Pacifist Pastor (renowned for hiding out and saving thousands of Jews during World War II from the Nazis/Fascists in Vichy France), Plough Publishing House free e-book of his JESUS AND THE NONVIOLENT REVOLUTION
excellent


[inserted on May 30, 2013]

Daniel Walther, THE HUGUENOTS - PIONEERS OF FREEDOM (1958)
[Extraordinarily courageous French Calvinists who suffered excruciating tortures and massacres (e.g., St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in Paris, 1572) in valiant witnessing to their particular beliefs in Christ. How does our faith, courage, constancy for the Lord Jesus Christ compare with these martyrs for Him? The Ultimate Question: Will we deny Him as Our Saviour if given the choice to live if we do? Or, will we call on our Lord to give us the courage of the Huguenots?]

ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S DAY MASSACRE: AUGUST 24, 1572


[inserted on May 29, 2013]

W. Boyd Carpenter (1841-1918), THE WISDOM OF JAMES THE JUST (1903)
excellent


[inserted on May 26, 2013]

QUOTES BY DYNAMIC SCOTTISH REFORMER JOHN KNOX (1514-1572)


[inserted on May 16, 2013]

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), Welsh pastor, considered to have been one of the twentieth century's greatest preachers, I AM A DEBTOR
excellent sermon


[inserted on May 9, 2013]

Pastor Dr. Photios, on the CHURCH OF THE CIRCUMCISION/NAZARENES/HEBREW CHRISTIANS/MESSIANIC JEWS: CALL THEM WHAT YOU WILL;
THE FIRST FOLLOWERS OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR YESHUA (JESUS) WERE JEWS!

Jerusalem -"... where the Son of God suffered for the redemption of mankind, and where the first Christian bishop presided over the first Christian Church-the Church of the Circumcision" (emphasis supplied). [Rev. J.B. Cartwright, THE CHURCH OF ST. JAMES. THE PRIMITIVE HEBREW CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF JERUSALEM; its HISTORY, CHARACTER, AND CONSTITUTION , London, 1842, Preface, pp. vii-viii.]

"It is clear that the Nazarenes considered the final authority in any such debate to be the Old Testament and not later rabbinic interpretation, i.e. they rejected the concept of halakah. With this one may compare the words of Jesus as recorded in John's gospel near the turn of the first century:

Search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me... Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"

[Pritz, Ray A. (2012-09-23). Nazarene Jewish Christianity (Kindle, p. 63-64.)]

All the leadership of the early Jerusalem Messianic Jewish community "were observant Jews throughout their entire lifetimes. I cover this particular point in my work 'THEY LOVED THE TORAH'". [David Friedman, JAMES THE JUST PRESENTS APPLICATIONS OF TORAH
Clarksville, MD: Lederer Books, 2012, p. 82.]

Three more excellent (free) sources are

(A) Hugh Schonfield (1901-1988), a classic on THE HISTORY OF JEWISH CHRISTIANITY
From the First to the Twentieth Century [1936]

(B) An excellent work by the famous Netherlands Messianic Calvinistic Jew, and renowned poet, Isaac da Costa (1798-1860), ISRAEL AND THE GENTILES:
Contributions to the History of the Jews from the Earliest Times to the Present Day [1850] (Google eBook)

and

(C) Rev. F.H. Reichardt, THE RELATION OF THE JEWISH CHRISTIANS TO THE JEWS
IN THE FIRST AND SECOND CENTURIES [1884] (Google eBook)

"Their only 'crime' was to follow Mosaic customs as well as obey Christ as their Messiah." [Pastor Photios]

Consider these facts about the destruction of the Second Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D. as prophesied by Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:

62 A.D. James the Just, Chief Rabbi and First Bishop of the Church martyred.
66-70 A.D. Jewish rebellion against Rome; Jews defeated in 70 A.D.
[Before defeat, responding to Christ's warning, Jewish Christians flee to Pella, now in Jordan. (See Matthew 24:16 "let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."). Christ prophesied twice about the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. (See Matthew 24:1-8, Luke 21:5-6, Luke 19:36-46 and Luke 23:27-30)]
2,700,000 reported in Jerusalem for Passover in 70 A.D. 1,100,000 men said to have been killed by the Roman army. Around 100,000 were captured and sold into slavery.
The Second Temple and Jerusalem destroyed in 70 A.D.

The Jews rise up again against the Romans and follow Simon bar Kokhba, an imposter, who claimed he was the Jewish Messiah:

133-136 A.D. Sixty years after the first destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews engaged in a general insurrection in Palestine against Rome during the last years of the reign of Emperor Hadrian, about 133 A.D., nearly twenty years after an earlier Jewish rebellion had been quashed by Roman General Martius Turbo. Hadrian decreed that Jerusalem be made a Roman colony, named it Aelia Capitolina and prohibited the ceremony of circumcision. Thousands of Jews flocked to a messiah pretender Simon Bar Kokhba. He then conquered many as far away as Syria and persecuted the Jewish Christians, who refused to join the insurrection because of his claim to be the Messiah. Bar Kochba took possession of Jerusalem, changed the form of the Samaritan coins to include his name with the title of Nasi, or Prince.
The guerilla war continued for four years. The Roman army suffered some great losses; however, in the end their might prevailed. The Romans eventually succeeded in retaking fifty strongholds, 950 townships and destroying the capital of Judea. The Emperor Hadrian made desolate the whole country of Palestine, completed the expulsion of the inhabitants and their dispersion over all the earth, A.D. 136. After this date, no more was heard of Bar Kokhba (although some believed he was killed by the Romans). Akiva, his companion and so-called prophet who had labeled Bar Kokhba the Messiah, was captured, tortured and executed.
About 580,000 Jews were killed in the four years of fighting.

The first fifteen bishops of the Church were all circumcised Jews, who believed in Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
Since this tradition arose out of the original Church of the Circumcision, the Church of St. James the Just of Jerusalem; and, considering that the Lord Jesus Christ was Jewish as was the Chief Rabbi/First Bishop James the Just and basically Jesus, James and all of His disciples and early followers who were called Nazarenes continued to follow Mosaic customs and the law in the way that Christ and James the Just had done and taught them, the mother Church of Jerusalem should have continued with Messianic Jewish chief rabbis, and the teaching and observing the Torah in the way Christ had taught should have been maintained. After all, what was 'good enough' for the Saviour is more than sufficient for all. Then, as the growth of Gentile believers increased disproportionately in the Diaspora, the Gentile believers would not have been required to be circumcised to be believers in Christ but have continued to be 'exempted' from circumcision and strict following of the law by the terms of the Apostolic Council decision that James the Just as Chief Rabbi delivered in Acts 15. The Jewish believers in a Diaspora area would have been expected to follow the Torah as Christ had taught and fulfilled it (the law as He said He had come to do). I.e., they would have been expected to follow the spirit of the law in Christ's way and, also, as James the Just, their Chief Rabbi and First Bishop had done, for James was known to have followed Torah rigorously.

THE OUSTER OF THE JEWISH BELIEVERS AND THE IMPOSITION OF GENTILE BISHOPS IN JERUSALEM

Marcus, a Gentile, was appointed the sixteenth bishop of Jerusalem; this was probably done in connivance with the Roman authorities. He was the first Gentile 'bishop'; the Hebrew Church of St. James the Just, with its glorious history of fidelity and true faith in the Lord had been replaced by skullduggery at the crossroads. Hebrew Christians who refused to give up their Jewish customs/Mosaic law were also barred from Jerusalem with the nonbelieving Jews.

Christ was a Jew. James the Just was a Jew. The early believers in Christ were called Nazarenes much much earlier than they were Christians. The disciples/apostles He chose were Jews.

All believers in the Church of the Circumcision until the decision of the Apostolic Council in Acts 15 (around 50 A.D.) were circumcised. That Council in its decision regarding whether Gentile believers had to be circumcised, i.e., legally convert to Judaism, as a condition of being a believer/follower of Jesus Christ (Yeshua) as their Lord and Saviour, ruled that they did not have to do so. James the Just, chief rabbi/first bishop of the Church, presided; after allowing and hearing evidence, he stated his decision reflecting the collective will of the assembly, which exempted the Gentiles from circumcision but required them to live by certain Jewish customs according to Mosaic law.

The fourteen bishops of Jerusalem succeeding the first bishop of the Church, James the Just, were Jewish Christians. [James' father was Joseph; he was a product of an earlier marriage by the older Joseph, see Epiphanius (c.315-402/403 A.D.), Panarion 29 (generally known as Refutation of All Heresies):

"The priestly honor it holds, because he who is high priest and chief of high priests afterward was installed as the first bishop: James, [3,9] called apostle and brother of the Lord. (He was the physical son of Joseph by lineage and called 'the brother of the Lord' because he lived closely together with Him.)
[4,1] This James was the son of Joseph from his [first] wife, not from Mary, just as this has also been told to us in many places and very clearly worked out for us. [4,2] We find, on the one hand, that he also was from David because he was the son of Joseph, and he became a Nazirite (because he was the firstborn of Joseph and consecrated [as such to God]). [4,3] Wherefore he was also allowed once a year to enter into the holy of holies, just as the Law commanded the high priests according to the scriptures. So relate many who came before us concerning him, Eusebius and Clement and others. [4,4] On the other hand, he was even allowed to wear the high priest's mitre on his head, just as the aforementioned trustworthy men bear witness in their writings."]

[See Pritz, Ray A. (2012-09-23). Nazarene Jewish Christianity (Kindle, p. 31.)]

From the sixteenth and first Gentile 'bishop' on, the Gentile believers 'took over'. There had been a spiritually unlawful ouster of the historic early primitive Church of St. James the Just. The defacto ouster was couched sometimes, and by some, as its dissolution, but this terminology hides the truth of what happened to this historic group of people, the Nazarenes, who were true to Christ. The only thing different from them and the Gentile believer was that the Jewish followers/believers of and in Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Yeshua) observed the Mosaic customs of the Jews, i.e., they observed the Torah and all that entailed. Remember that Jesus Christ Himself was a Jew and also observed Torah. James the Just, widely honoured and respected even in the Jewish nonbelieving community, was a devout follower of Mosaic customs.
James in his General Epistle to the twelve tribes in the Diaspora teaches the Torah, emphasising its true spirit, as did Our Lord Jesus Christ, in His teachings. Martin Luther was wrong about the Book of James. As spiritually keen, intelligent and courageous a Christian he was, he never understood the Jews and Jewish Christians and, frankly, didn't like the Jews very much; or, so some of his writings somewhat strongly 'suggest'. Luther couldn't have had as much access to the truth of the Jewish believers in Christ of the early Church, the Nazarenes, as we do today, considering the wealth of spiritual materials being written on this subject and with their availability on the Internet.

Surely, the probability is that Our Lord and Saviour Yeshua (Jesus) considers this 'ouster' of the Nazarenes and its descendants as an affront to Him and to the many thousands of true Nazarene believers in Him as our Lord and Saviour. I am not talking about the heretical Ebionites, or the Essenes. I am speaking about the true believers in Christ, the Nazarenes who fully accepted His Divinity, believed and followed Him in an Orthodox way, and the early such followers of His Way had the unbeatable spiritual advantage of knowing Him, receiving His teaching, including His modifications of hypocritical and/or otherwise too legalistic spiritual approaches by the Jewish religious 'establishment,' the Pharisees (remember Paul was a Pharisee and still was one when he died) and the Sadducees, the latter being particularly pernicious to our Lord.

SHORT SUMMARY OF THE JEWISH CHRISTIANS' SPIRITUAl WITNESS:

Here is an exerpt from such a summary by the excellent writer, Ray Pritz, of the spiritual witness of the descendants of the primitive Church of the Hebrew believers in Jesus Christ as Messiah/Lord/Saviour, the believers known in the first place as Nazarenes:

"There emerges from our considerations an entity, a viable entity of Law-keeping Christians of Jewish background. These were direct descendants of the first Jewish believers in Jesus. They survived the destruction of Jerusalem in part because they fled successfully to Pella of the Decapolis, and in part because they had roots also in the Galilee. These Jewish Christians were called Nazarenes after Jesus, and probably received the title on the basis of early Christian interpretation of certain Old Testament passages (e.g. Isa. 11:1) as referring to the Messiah and specifically to Jesus himself. The Nazarenes were distinct from the Ebionites and prior to them. In fact, we have found that it is possible that there was a split in Nazarene ranks around the turn of the first century. This split was either over a matter of christological doctrine or over leadership of the community. Out of this split came the Ebionites, who can scarcely be separated from the Nazarenes on the basis of geography, but who can be easily distinguished from the standpoint of Christology.
The continued existence of this Nazarene entity can be traced with reasonable certainty through the fourth century, contingent upon the credence we give to the evidence of Epiphanius and Jerome at the end of that century.... Geographically they were limited to pockets of settlement along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, mostly just east of the Jordan rift. They were to be found in the Galilee and probably in Jerusalem until 135, when all Jews were expelled from the city. It would seem that members of the sect moved northward at a somewhat later date and were to be found also in the area of Beroea of Coele Syria near the end of the fourth century.
What we have seen of their doctrines line up well with the developing christological doctrines of the greater Catholic Church. The sect seems to have been basically trinitarian. They accepted the virgin birth and affirmed the deity of Jesus. They also seem to have had an embryonic, developing doctrine of the Holy Spirit, one which was no more nor indeed less developed than that of the greater Church at a comparable stage. Contrary to other Jewish Christian groups of the time (and also to current scholarly opinion) they did not reject the apostleship of Paul. They recognized his commission from God to preach to the Gentiles, and they seem fully to have accepted the fruit of his labors: the 'Church from the Gentiles.' Those fathers of the fourth century who wrote against them could find nothing in their beliefs to condemn; their objections were to matters of praxis. The Nazarenes, as Jews, continued to observe certain aspects of Mosaic Law, including circumcision and the Sabbath, and it was this which brought about their exclusion from the Church. This rejection and exclusion was, however, gradual. For this reason—and because Nazarene numbers remained small throughout—Church writers do not mention Nazarenes by name until such a time as the Church was free from persecution and began to refine its own narrowed orthodoxy. The Nazarenes were not included in the earlier heresy lists because they were simply not considered heretical enough or a threat to 'orthodoxy.'" [Pritz, Ray A. (2012-09-23). Nazarene Jewish Christianity (Kindle, pp. 108-109.)]

CONCLUDING COMMENTS INCLUDING OPINION BY PASTOR PHOTIOS

There is no credible evidence that the Nazarenes were heretical. There is proof that they were, fundamentally, orthodox Christians. They believed in Christ's Divinity and were not in any real way heretical. Epiphanius' only 'complaint' was their observing the Torah/ the law of Moses, something not only Moses did but also Christ, Who in His own words declared He came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.
The Jewish Christians were barred from Jerusalem along with the unbelieving Jews from 135 A.D., in the aftermath of Rome's conquest over the Jewish rebellion led by the messiah imposter Simon bar Kokhba. The descendants of the Nazarenes were hated by the unrepentent Jews, and the Gentile believers basked in the sunlight of their secular favouritism from the Roman authorities as they 'took over' the Chief Rabbi spiritual position and throne. Really, they may have purported to have done so, and it might be considered merely lawful what they did; but, for Gentile believers to 'profit from' the misery and persecution of the descendants of the very people, the Nazarenes who, through James' decision reflecting the collective will of the Council in 50 A.D., 'exempted' them from becoming Jewish in order to be a believer in Christ, is, simply put, despicable. It is sheer gall when one considers that the first bishop of the Church, James the Just was a Hebrew believer and the next fourteen Chief Rabbis were also Jewish believers. Yet, the following fifteen so-called bishops were Gentile believers. Talk about unspiritual treachery!
Why didn't the spiritual throne of the Nazarenes not follow the true Nazarene believers in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Yeshua)? They had been both defacto and dejure 'ousted' from Jerusalem to wherever they were or happened to be. Remember, the true belief in the Lord as the Messiah and the practise of our faith and obedience to Him can be spiritually exercised anywhere! It is not limited to geography, a temple, synagogue, church or house.

The Jewish Christians, called first Nazarenes, obeyed Christ as He taught them whilst he resided within His community in His human body on earth. Through possibly treachery, conspiracy, as well as otherwise political shenanigans by the Roman authorities to rid Jerusalem of all Jewish influences, the peaceful loving Nazarenes who refused to fight for the imposter messiah bar Kokhba against the Romans end up paying very deeply indeed for their spiritual principles. They would not support the imposter because they followed Jesus Christ, the true Messiah. In addition, He would not have allowed them to take up arms. Secularly and religiously (perhaps through conniving between the Roman authorities and the Gentile believers in not only Jerusalem but the Diaspora to replace the Jewish Christian Church of the Circumcision with the totally unjewish Gentile lot, former pagan believers, now 'transformed,' perhaps...), the Jewish Christian believers were assigned to spiritual oblivion, but true believers remain spiritually committed regardless of place.

The new Nazarenes are spiritually 'alive and kicking' even in the twenty-first century. They are among us now! You can follow their origins and spiritual witnesses for Christ in your hearts and/or in some contemporary Hebrew Christian/Messsianic Jewish Movement synagogues, which believe in Christ as the Messiah whilst also obeying Him in following God's spiritual witness to us in His Torah. We would rely on Christ's teachings and explanations of the law, which He came to fulfill not abolish.

Please remember that no one is saved by observing the law, i.e., we are not justified, made righteous, by following the law. If this were so, we would have a salvation of works. Scripture is clear here. Faith, alone, brings salvation; salvation cannot be 'won' by adding up points for so-called good works. The fruit (evidence) of Faith results in a flow of good works, but good works don't make us righteous, or bring us salvation. The following points were made by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Founder and Director of Ariel Ministries, in his excellent article THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE LAW OF MESSIAH I. The Purpose of the Law of Moses:

Citing Romans 3:20 and 28, he states "Both of these points make it clear that no (emphasis supplied) man was justified by the works of the Law." Continuing, looking into Romans 3:19-20, he comments that "Paul emphasizes here that there is no justification through the Law; by means of the Law no Jewish person (emphasis supplied) will be justified. So what is the Law if not a way of justification; a way of salvation? The Law is there to give us the knowledge (emphasis supplied) of sin, to reveal exactly (emphasis supplied) what sin is." The Law acts as our tutor with the purpose of leading us to faith. But "now that faith is come, we are no longer (emphasis supplied) under a tutor" (See Galatians 3:24-25).

The law of Moses ceased for us upon the death of the Messiah (Romans 10:4):
"Very clearly, Christ is the end of the law, and that includes all 613 commandments; hence, the Law has ceased to function. There is no justification through it." (Fruchtenbaum, III. THE LAW OF MOSES HAS BEEN RENDERED INOPERATIVE, Ibid., p. 8.) The law was merely temporary (Galatians 3:19).

We are under a new law (see Galatians 6.2 and Romans 8.2): "This new law is called: the law of Christ in Galatians 6.2 and the law of the Spirit of Life in Romans 8.2. This is a brand new law, totally separate from the Law of Moses. The Law of the Messiah contains all (emphasis supplied) the commandments applicable to a New Testament believer." (Fruchtenbaum, IV. THE MESSIANIC BELIEVER IS UNDER A NEW LAW, Id., p. 12.)

We who believe in Christ as the Messiah have been freed from the Law of Moses, but we can always choose to obey parts of it even though the Law of Moses has no legal jurisdiction over us. [See John Calvin (1509-1564) CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW (1534).] We have such freedom! Paul was a devout Jewish believer, still a Pharisee at his life's glorious end. Yet, he was the greatest supporter of freedom from the Law. At the same time, he chose to keep it. (Fruchtenbaum, V. THE PRINCIPLE OF FREEDOM, Id., See the scriptural citations of Paul doing so at p. 13.) Dr. Fruchtenbaum warns Messianic believers who voluntarily choose to 'keep the law' in some way about two dangers: (1) thinking that by observing/keeping some of the Mosaic commandments you are contributing to your justification and sanctification [not true], and (2) expecting others to follow your lead and do as you do [equally wrong as (1)]. "The one who exercises his freedom to keep the law must recognize and respect another's freedom not to keep it." [Id.]

In my view, it is not inconsistent for a Calvinist to also opt to worship God, within one's heart, in a Torah way. One could both spiritually follow Christ but also honour the stalwart witness of the early Nazarene believers in Him. Whether or not many of the Reformed Churches, those in our times still actively following the witness of the great Reformers such as John Calvin and John Knox, would support such an endeavour in their churches is unknown to me. In my humble view, this might be an excellent missionary witness for them.

[Pastor Photios - There is one Reformed Church web-site which states it is a Reformed (Calvinist) Ministry to (my emphasis) Jewish People. It is called CHAIM and its literature states it is officially recognized by the Presbyterian Church in America. So, it appears to function as a missionary witness to Jews for (apparently) conversion purposes. Is the interested Jew solicited with a view toward 'turning' the Jew completely away from his/her Jewish customs? Are there Gentile believers in the Jewish 'conversion' groups? Are such Gentile believers welcome in this missionary endeavour? Yes, the Jews were to be preached the Gospel first, only years later was the Gospel extended to believing Gentiles. Then, the dispute culminated in a 'hearing,' as informal as it probably was in those days, resulting in James' decision on behalf of the Council in Acts 15 that Gentiles would not be required to convert (by circumcision) to Judaism in order to believe in Jesus (Yeshua) as the Messiah. The believing Gentiles were still required/expected to keep a threshold amount of the 'law'. Years later, the Nazarenes are ousted from Jerusalem and, in effect, are purported to be 'dissolved,' which was not and never has been, true. After the first fifteen Chief Rabbis (bishops of Jerusalem) had been Jewish believers, of the circumcised, the Gentiles very 'conveniently' all of a sudden like a miracle became the next fifteen 'bishops' of Jerusalem. Sounds like a 'takeover', spiritually unlawful at that. The point I am making is that the Holy Spirit's leading the Council to such a conciliatory decision re the issue in dispute was not reciprocated later when the Gentile believers 'took over' the see of Jerusalem during the time when the Jewish Christians could not re-enter Jerusalem without giving up their Mosaic customs. Is this missionary maneuver motivated by somewhat similar motives? I have no idea, but an inquirer might want to ask a few questions. Hopefully and prayerfully, this missionary movement would engender and support not only Jews coming home to Christ, the true Messiah, but also allow all believers in Christ as Messiah, Gentile or Jewish, to voluntarily choose to follow the Torah in the manner in which the Lord came to fulfill, not abolish it.]

Here is CHAIM's web-site link:
CHAIM
A Reformed Ministry to Jewish People
.

In any case, one can always volunteer to keep the Torah privately, within one's heart. You do not need an organisation to do this. A good scriptural place to start and study would be the General Epistle of James the Just, a perfect example of spiritual, relevant and applied Torah teaching.

There are a fairly large number of Hebrew Christian/Messianic Jewish synagogues/organisations in the United States as well as across the world, including in Israel. Some are in religious conflict of some sort, jurisdictional perhaps, with each other: a continuing plague in the so-called religious world!

You will find some excellent spiritual materials on Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum's site, ARIEL MINISTRIES.
Another "Messianic" site that also emphasises the teaching of the doctrines of grace is worth a look: MESSIANIC LITERARY CORNER .


[inserted on April 24, 2013]

REFORMERS' COMMENTS ON THE JEWISH PEOPLE


[inserted on April 22, 2013]

Jonathan Bernis, Messianic Rabbi, HOW DID JEWISH YESHUA BECOME GENTILE JESUS?


[inserted on April 20, 2013]

Charles C. Spurgeon (1834-1892), Prince of Preachers, Sermon 1632, (1881) THE NAZARENE AND THE SECT OF THE NAZARENES

Comment by Pastor Photios:

We are blind to Christ until He spiritually opens our eyes to Him. We can't see Him, really, until then. When we become His followers (believers), we must be prepared to be treated with utter contempt and persecution, i.e., like "Nazarenes"!


[inserted on 4/19/2013]

Dr. Peter Hammond, A MODERN IDOL-THE TRUTH ABOUT MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.


[inserted on April 13, 2013]

The Mysterious Relationship of
THE EARLY NAZARENE CHRISTIANS AND RABBINIC JUDAISM


[inserted on April 12, 2013]

TWO HOMILIES WRITTEN BY PASTOR PHOTIOS; ONE ON PHOTIOS THE GREAT, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE; THE OTHER, ROMAN EMPEROR CONSTANTINE THE GREAT ["In 313, he was instrumental in issuing the Edict of Milan, 'which recognized the Christian Church as a legal religion and tolerated all religions equally without any interference from the State'."]:

(1) ST. PHOTIOS THE GREAT: DEFENDER OF THE TRUE ORTHODOX FAITH

(2) ST. CONSTANTINE THE GREAT, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES: WARRIOR FOR CHRIST

I wrote these a few years ago when still active in the Orthodox Christian priesthood and before retiring from active service. Although I now consider myself a Protestant (Calvinist) pastor (God willing of course), I believe that all Christians cannot but benefit by knowing something different about St. Constantine the Great than perhaps they have been led to believe. In addition, St. Photios the Great stood tall in defense of the ancient Orthodox Christian Faith. True Christians should know about and try to understand these brave Christian men who lived in dangerous times but neither ever as much as flinched before their satanic enemies. Furthermore, they need to be understood as acting within the spirit of their times. It is easy for us to criticise those who went before us, when we weren't there! Had we been in their positions, would we have spiritually stood our ground? A question we all should ponder as we face our own spiritually perilous times.


[inserted on April 10, 2013]

SPIRITUAL ADVICE FROM BROTHER LAWRENCE:

"God requires no great matters of us:
A little remembrance of Him from time to time.
A little adoration.
Sometimes to pray for His grace.
Sometimes to offer Him your sufferings.
Sometimes to return Him thanks for the favors He has given you (and still gives you, in the the midst of your troubles).
To console yourself with Him as often as you can.
Lift up your heart to Him, sometimes even at your meals, and when you are in company. The least little remembrance will always be agreeable to Him. You need not cry very loud, for He is nearer to us than we are aware of.
It is not necessary to always be at church to be with God.

We may make our heart a prayer chapel that we can retire to from time to time to converse with Him in meekness, humility, and love. Everyone is capable of such familiar communion with God, some more, some less.

He knows what we can do, so let us then begin..."

Brother Lawrence (1605-1691) wrote a letter to a lady inquirer in 1689, which included the above. Although his answers to her were framed to her particular problems, they are quite pertinent to all of us.


[inserted on April 9, 2013]

Pastor Photios ST. JAMES THE JUST, NONBLOOD 'BROTHER' OF CHRIST: FIRST BISHOP OF THE CHURCH


[inserted on April 7, 2013]

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MADAME GUYON (1646-1717)
(considered a heretic by some, saint to others, valiant witness for Christ nevertheless)


[inserted on March 31, 2013]

Dr. Peter Hammond, Director of Frontline Fellowship, South Africa:

WHO KILLED JESUS?
CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED - EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION
THE CENTRALITY OF THE CROSS


[inserted on March 28, 2013]

Comments by Pastor Photios:

WHAT ABOUT NOW?

Reading Scripture this morning in McDonald's, I heard former American Idol rock singer Daughtry belting out a haunting song that included these lines:

"What about now? What about today?... Baby, before it's too late, What about now?"

Now, Daughtry didn't have what I have in mind; but I am convinced that we have to decide for Christ NOW! Ask yourself "What about now? What about today? Before it's too late, What about now?" Am I ready for Him? Am I poor in spirit enough? Am I downtrodden enough? If so, I am 'readying' myself for Him.

The more spiritually down and out we are, the more we can be considered prepared for our Lord to call us to Him. The rich, powerful, haughty and arrogant needn't apply for His consideration unless or until they change/address their ways. They probably 'have a long way to go;' yet you and I can't be so sure about that. Remember, Christ called Saul of Tarsus when he was one of His main persecutors!

What about now for you and me? Well, now is the time! None better than right now, at this instant, at this moment in time. Quit procrastinating: fall on your knees and repent of your sins to Him, plead with Him to take you with Him, to come to Him. If you are sincere, He will call you!

You must do it now, BEFORE it's too late!


[inserted on March 24, 2013]

Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929) WISDOM OF THE SADHU: TEACHINGS OF SUNDAR SINGH, I. SCENES, PARABLE THE HUNGRY BIRDS
[compiled and edited by Kim Comer], Copyright 2011 by The Plough Publishing House. Used with permission:

Once as I wandered in the mountains, I came upon an outcropping of rocks, and as I sat on the highest rock to rest and look out over the valley, I saw a nest in the branches of a tree. The young birds in the nest were crying noisily. Then I saw how the mother bird returned with food for her young ones. When they heard the sound of her wings and felt her presence nearby, they cried all the more loudly and opened their beaks wide. But after the mother bird fed them and flew away again, they were quiet. Climbing down to look more closely, I saw that the newly hatched birds had not yet opened their eyes. Without even being able to see their mother, they opened their beaks and begged for nourishment whenever she approached.

These tiny birds did not say: “We will not open our beaks until we can see our mother clearly and also see what kind of food she offers. Perhaps it is not our mother at all but instead some dangerous enemy. And who knows if it is proper nourishment or some kind of poison that is being fed to us?” If they had reasoned thus, they would never have discovered the truth. Before they were even strong enough to open their eyes, they would have starved to death. But they held no such doubts about the presence and love of their mother, and so after a few days, they opened their eyes and rejoiced to see her with them. Day by day they grew stronger and developed into the form and likeness of the mother, and soon they were able to soar up into the freedom of the skies. We humans often think of ourselves as the greatest living beings, but do we not have something to learn from these common birds? We often question the reality and the loving nature of God. But the Master has said: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Whenever we open our hearts to God, we receive spiritual nourishment and grow more and more into the likeness of God until we reach spiritual maturity. And once we open our spiritual eyes and see God’s presence, we find indescribable and unending bliss.

BIOGRAPHY OF SADHU SUNDAR SINGH

Sadhu Sundar Singh, AT THE MASTER'S FEET


[inserted on March 16, 2013]

SPIRITUAL WARNING ON MULTICULTURALISM: POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE AMOK!

Comments by Pastor Photios:

Multiculturalism's natural result leads to a destruction of nations through unrestricted immigration and encouragement, directly or indirectly, of interbreeding among races. Look around you in the United States and see the developing nationhood crisis unfolding before your very eyes. Do you feel like a foreigner in your own country? If you don't, you should. Immigration, illegal and legal, basically is out of control. Sometimes at local McDonalds' in the babble of foreign tongues, hardly an English word can be heard. Would any other country so actively encourage such incomprehensibility to its legal citizenry? (Well, yes, perhaps hyper-leftist Brits, who are fast approaching their immigration Armegeddon).

Now, I should point out that it is not the common person who is agitating for the destruction of the American life as we have known it, but the elite few. However, these elitist (the Obama type, you know who they are) few are disproportionately significant because they fundamentally control our freedom of speech through the media; many of them are part of it. Newspapers, television, the movies of the lefty 'Hollyweird' set all howl the diversity tune. They are oblivious (or, just do not care) to the fact that politically-correct multiculturalism is destroying the American dream. 'Sexual togetherness' of the races is stimulated (pardon the pun) by governmental policy, and the leftist media continues to plug its devil worshipping through Christian bashing. Blaspheming Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is quite the fashion in these elitist circles. But their time is limited by God's justice.

God created the world and everything in it, including all its nations with all their different races. He is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (He is present everywhere at all times), immanent (closely related to omnipresent; God, the cause of the universe is within it but distinct from it) and immutable (A. W. Pink, Calvinist, "God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change.") He created nations made up of different races. God foreordained everything in His world according to His sovereign plan. It is clear that he highly favoured nationhood. The reason He did is entirely His, and we have no status/standing to question His motives in any way. God has ordered everything to His satisfaction. He favoured families/tribes/nations and blessed us with thousands of languages in people of different races. Why didn't He 'mix the pot,' and have only one race? Simple. Apparently, He didn't want to! Those who truly believe in diversity should support God's plan for us, not counsel people to not be satisfied with the race they are (or the sex that they are). Secular America many years ago outlawed legal prohibitions against miscegenation (a dictionary definition is "a mixture of races; especially : marriage, cohabitation, or sexual intercourse between a white person and a member of another race"). So, all Americans can cohabit with another race and have children by this process without fear of legal action. This is a legal right our secular society has established for us.

But God didn't so decree. As individuals we have a freedom of choice. The overwhelming percentage of the world's people are free to choose between marrying, having children, including how many (unless you live in a totalitarian place like China) and being a family of the race they have been given by the Lord or 'crossing the racial line'.

About Nations:

God created the earth's tribes/nations, and those who are elected by Him as His children will find "nations" in heaven when they get there. We just don't know what they will look like exactly. Here are just a few Scriptural quotes regarding nations:

As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name anymore be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee (Gen. 17:4-6).

By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations (Gen. 10:5).

Believers are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of the darkness into his marvellous light (I Pet. 2:9):
Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy (I Pet. 2:10). In I Pet. 2:9, the Protestant Reformers in their Marginal Notes of the Geneva Bible (1587 version - Kindle version) provided this spiritual guide: [9 On the other hand, he describes the singular excellency of the elect, and also lest any man should doubt whether he is chosen or not, the apostle calls us back to the effectual calling, that is, to the voice of the gospel sounding both in our ears and minds by the outward preaching and ordinances, by which we may certainly understand that everlasting decree of our salvation (which otherwise is most secret and hidden) and that through the only mercy of God who freely chooses and calls us. Therefore only this remains, faith, that by all means possible we set forth the great goodness of the most mighty God.]

26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us
(Acts 17:26-27).

If You Come To Him, He Will Accept You As His!

God is no respecter of persons. Christianity is 'open' to all who will receive/respond to His call:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28).

Believers "are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:26). The evidence for this is baptism: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). The Protestant Reformers in the Marginal Notes of the Geneva Bible (1587 Kindle version) explained it this way: [27 Using the words «many of you», lest the Jews should think themselves free from the ordinance of baptism, he pronounces that baptism is common to all believers, because it is a outward sign of our delivery in Christ, to the Jews as well as to the Greeks, that by this means all may be truly one in Christ, that is to say, that promised seed to Abraham, and inheritors of everlasting life. For as many of you as have been He sets forth baptism, as opposed to circumcision, which the false apostles bragged so much of. baptized into Christ have The Church must put on Christ, as it were a garment, and be covered with him, that it may be thoroughly holy, and without blame. put on Christ.] (Scripture is in italics, the Reformers' Marginal Notes are not)

Galatians 3:28 has nothing to do with integration of the races. Here is John Calvin's (1509-1564) commentary on Gal. 3:28:

28. There is neither Jew nor Greek. The meaning is, that there is no distinction of persons
here, and therefore it is of no consequence to what nation or condition any one may belong:
nor is circumcision any more regarded than sex or civil rank. And why? Because Christ
makes them all one. Whatever may have been their former differences, Christ alone is able
to unite them all. Ye are one: the distinction is now removed. The apostle’s object is to shew
that the grace of adoption, and the hope of salvation, do not depend on the law, but are
contained in Christ alone, who therefore is all. Greek is here put, as usual, for Gentile, and
one department for the whole class.

John Gill's (1697-1771) Exposition of the Bible Gal. 3:28:

There is neither Jew nor Greek,
Not but that there were such in being; and in the churches of Christ, for the primitive churches consisted of both; but the meaning is, that there is no difference between them, the middle wall of partition being broken down, and that, in the business of justification and salvation, it signified nothing whether a man was a Jew or a Greek; he was never the better for being a circumcised Jew, nor never the worse for being an uncircumcised Gentile; both by nature are equally sinners, and stand in need of the justifying righteousness of Christ, and the regenerating grace of the Spirit. The Gospel was equally preached to both, and was made useful to some of the one and of the other; and who, believing in Christ, had a right to the same ordinances and privileges of the Gospel, and shared in the same blessings of grace.
there is neither bond nor free,
There were such persons in the world then, and in the churches too; nor does the Gospel dissolve the civil and natural relations and obligations men are in and under to one another, it confirms and secures them; but the sense is, that God, in calling, justifying, and saving men, is no respecter of persons, as being high and low, rich and poor, bond or free, servants or masters: he calls, justifies, and saves men of every station and condition of life; and bond slaves and servants called by grace are Christ's free men, and have an equal right as those that are free to all the immunities of the Gospel: in some Heathen nations bond slaves and servants were not admitted, only freemen, to be present at the sacred service, and worship of their deities F18; but the Gospel makes no such distinction of men in its doctrine, worship, and ordinances, which lie open to all ranks and orders of men:
there is neither male nor female: among the Heathens F19 also females were not admitted to some of their sacred rites and ceremonies; and among the Jews the males only were concerned in many things both of a civil and religious nature; no female might be heir to an inheritance with a male F20; females had no share in the civil government, nor in the priesthood; males were to appear three times a year before the Lord, and, according to their oral law, women and servants were exempted F21; the mark of circumcision, the sign of the covenant made with Abraham and his natural seed, was only upon the males; but now under the Gospel dispensation there is no distinction made between male and female as to divine things; as they are alike called by the grace of God, they have the same right to Gospel ordinances, baptism and the Lord's supper, and to every spiritual privilege. The apostle's design is to show the common right of believers, of every nation, condition, and sex, and to encourage the Gentiles, and demolish the pride, vanity, and boasting of the Jews, their men especially, who valued themselves upon these "three" very things which the apostle here makes no account of; as that they were Israelites and not Gentiles, freemen and not servants, men and not women; and in their public prayers they give thanks to God in this form,
``blessed be the Lord our God, the King of the world, that he hath made me an Israelite; blessed be the Lord who hath not made me a Gentile; blessed be the Lord who hath not made me a "servant"; blessed be the Lord who hath not made me a "woman";''

instead of which last the woman say,

``blessed be the Lord who hath made me as he pleased F23:''

for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
being alike chosen in him, united to him, redeemed by his blood, justified by his righteousness, regenerated by his Spirit, the children of God by faith in him, and heirs of the same grace and glory, they make, both Jews and Gentiles, bond and free, male and female, as it were but one new man in him; one body, of which he is the head, one spiritual seed of Abraham and of Christ.

FOOTNOTES:

F18 Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dierum, l. 2. c. 14. Aurel. Victor. de orig. Gent. Rom. c. 8. Aristophanis Thesmophor, & Bourdin in ib. p. 782.
F19 Alex. ab Alex. ib. Aurel. Victor, c. 6.
F20 Maimon. Nechalot, c. 1. sect. 1, 2.
F21 Misn. Chagiga, c. 1. sect. 1.
F23 Sedor Tephillot, fol. 2. 2. Ed. Basil. fol. 4. 1. Ed. Amst. T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 13. 2.

Pentecost Is An Example Of The 'Diversity' God Planned For His People. God Never Intended 'One Worldism':

Calvinist Dr. Francis Nigel Lee preached that "Pentecost sanctified the legitimacy of separate nationality rather than saying this is something we should outgrow. In fact, even in the new earth to come, after the Second Coming of Christ, we are told that the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of the heavenly Jerusalem, and the kings of the earth shall bring the glory and the honor – the cultural treasures – of the nations into it… But nowhere in Scripture are any indications to be found that such peoples should ever be amalgamated into one huge nation (emphasis supplied)." [Quoted by David Opperman in his "A BIBLICAL DEFENSE OF ETHNO-NATIONALISM" at FAITH & HERITAGE]

God didn't foreordain that all nations be hereditarily changed into a mixture of all races in His world. The Lord can do no wrong. His plan is His and not subject to change. If He had willed all people to be of one race, He would have done so. He didn't. End of story.

SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR CHRISTIAN WHITE PEOPLE:

(1) Stop kowtowing to the elitist left and society in general who would have you disbelieve in your American glorious heritage and/or in the greatness of Western Civilisation. Our forefathers came to these shores as persecuted Christians, primarily staunch Calvinists and Pilgrims, who made America the great country she has been. Our Declaration of Independence and enlightened system of government were greatly influenced by the work and witness of John Calvin in Geneva, John Knox and the other Protestant Reformers. The religious freedom witness of Quaker William Penn, Founder of Pennsylvania, and Calvinist Roger Williams, Founder of Rhode Island, ring out proudly that they were God's actions! Whether or not the United States can establish that it has a biblical basis for being God's chosen people, the evidence suggests that the United States must be at the very least a most favoured nation with Him; since He has blessed us in so many ways!

(2) Be satisfied with the race you are! God has made you that way. If He believed in the racist claptrap put out by the leftist elite in America, He would have created one race and one nation. The irony of the leftists' position is that obviously if we only had one race, one people, one country, one government (like the one-world government the leftists are socially pushing), we would have far less diversity!

(3) Associate with true Calvinist Christians (more difficult to find than one would think; apostasy runs broadly across the modern American religious horizon). If this is untenable, read the Scriptures at home as staunch Calvinist A.W. Pink recommended in A CALL TO SEPARATION . It is best to avoid false teachers!

(4) Home school your children or send them to a Calvinist (Reformed Faith) school (if one is available).

(5) Respect other races, remember all are our neighbours; teach your children to treat all races fairly and with dignity and set a good example for them.

(6) Nevertheless, teach your children that God placed different races on His earth for His own purposes. Counsel them to be separate from this world as much as possible to avoid the demonic influences that permeate the current decadence in American life. Direct them to associations within their own race which will lead to marriage and family within the Reformed Faith of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

(7) Censor their daily intake of electronic communications and steer your children to sound family value entertainment (e.g., movies on TCM) when the television is on.

(8) Limit the watching of news and related talk shows etc. to Fox News; the other networks have abandoned any pretence of fair and balanced reporting. They deserve to be treated with 'benign neglect'!

May God bless you all!

Pastor Photios


[inserted on March 7, 2013]

SCRIPTURE PROVES THAT GOD IS TOTALLY SOVEREIGN OVER OUR REGENERATION: BELIEVERS ARE BORN OF GOD; THEY ARE NOT IN ANY WAY THE SOURCE OF THEIR NEW BIRTH!

Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898), an excerpt from his FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM

But the surest proof is that of Scripture. This everywhere asserts that the sinner's regeneration is by sovereign, almighty grace. One class of texts presents those which describe the sinner's prior condition as one of "blindness," Ephesians 4:18; "of stony heartedness," Ezekiel 36:26; "of impotency," Romans 5:6; "of enmity," Romans 8:7; "of inability, John 6:44 and Romans 7:18; "of deadness," Ephesians 2:1-5. Let no one exclaim that these are "figures of speech." Surely the Holy Spirit, when resorting to figures for the very purpose of giving a more forcible expression to truth, does not resort to a deceitful rhetoric! Surely he selects his figures because of the correct parallel between them and his truth!

Now, then, the blind man cannot take part in the very operation which is to open his eyes. The hard stone cannot be a source of softness. The helpless paralytic cannot begin his own restoration. Enmity against God cannot choose love for him. The dead corpse of Lazarus could have no agency in recalling the vital spirit into itself. After Christ's almighty power restored it, the living man could respond to the Savior's command and rise and come forth.

The figures which describe the almighty change prove the same truth. It is described (Ps. 119:18) as an opening of the blind eyes to the law; as a new creation; (Ps. 51:10; Eph. 2:5) as a new birth; (Jn. 3:3) as a quickening or resurrection (making alive; Eph. 1:18, and 2:10). The man blind of cataract does not join the surgeon in couching his own eye; nor does the sunbeam begin and perform the surgical operation; that must take place in order for the light to enter and produce vision.

The timber is shaped by the carpenter; it does not shape itself, and does not become an implement until he gives it the desired shape.

The infant does not procreate itself, but must be born of its parents in order to become a living agent.

The corpse does not restore life to itself; after life is restored it becomes a living agent.

Express scriptures teach the same doctrine in Jeremiah 31:18, Ephraim is heard praying thus: "Turn thou me and I shall be turned." In John 1:13, we are taught that believers are born "not of blood, nor of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God." In John 6:44, Christ assures us that "No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him." And in John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit." In Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which Christ hath before ordained that we should walk in them."


[inserted on March 2, 2013]

CHRISTIANS: GET READY TO STAND UP FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WHEN GOVERNMENT PERSECUTION ESCALATES. READ THIS INSPIRING COURAGEOUS WITNESS BY SIKHS AGAINST THE EVILS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE.

See Alice Basarke, ORIGINS OF NON-VIOLENCE MOVEMENT IN INDIA
THIS ARTICLE BLOWS AWAY THE FANTASY OF BRITISH TOLERANCE. THEIR BEHAVIOUR WAS SO ATROCIOUS AND INHUMANE AS TO COMPARE WITH THE NAZIS!


[inserted on February 25, 2013]

Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952), staunch Calvinist and prolific spiritual writer, A BRIEF EXCERPT FROM HIS SERMON A CALL TO SEPARATION

"Be ye not unequally yoked together." This applies first to our religious or ecclesiastical connections. How many Christians are members of so-called "churches," where much is going on which they know is at direct variance with the Word of God—either the teaching from the pulpit, the worldly attractions used to draw the ungodly, and the worldly methods employed to finance it or the constant receiving into its membership of those who give no evidence of having been born again. Believers in Christ who remain in such "churches" (?) are dishonoring their Lord. Should they answer: "Practically all the churches are the same, and were we to resign, what could we do? We must go somewhere on Sundays," such language would show they are putting their own interests before the glory of Christ. Better stay at home and read God's Word, than fellowship that which His Word condemns (emphasis supplied).

Comments by Pastor Photios:

Rev. Pink died in 1952. Imagine how much more spiritually relevant his words are, even today, 2013! The haters of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ are around us everywhere. The devil and his demons are 'deified' in the media whilst Christ's Name is barred from usage by our pathetic secular society. Mass murderers abound across America - so much so that it is difficult to keep all the heinous slaughterings straight in one's mind. Our society just "throws up its hands" and never mentions that this is satan's doing. No, there isn't anyone who is actually evil, except as the so-called leftist 'do-gooders' say - the sellers of guns! If only the killers' environment had been better... Or, other reasons are 'reached for' to exonerate, or materially excuse the evildoer(s). Sin is never mentioned because the majority of folk don't believe it exists.

SPIRITUAL WARNING: 'Hell to pay' is on its way, and it comes from Him. God will not be mocked!


[inserted on February 23, 2013]

ARE YOU SPIRITUALLY DEAD?

"We are the walking dead, forgetful that our designer-label fashions of religion and morality are really a death shroud. To paraphrase Jesus, (Ed: Remember Him?) we go through life like corpses with lipstick, not even aware that all of our makeovers and self-improvement are just cosmetic (all emphases supplied)."

From a book that cannot be recommended too highly by Michael Horton, CHRISTLESS CHRISTIANITY: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008), p. 241


[inserted on February 17, 2013]

W.H. Withrow (1812), in Canadian Baptist paper, The Baptist Pillar: THE CHURCH IN THE DESERT: HUGUENOT HEROES AND MARTYRS
(Comment by Pastor Photios: God's heroes, the Huguenots; they suffered immensely for Christ. Contrary to the possible meaning of the editorial comment just above the beginning of this article, the Huguenots were staunch Calvinists, not Anabaptists! Admittedly, both groups were heroic in their suffering.)

"For nearly two years the illustrious Scottish Reformer, John Knox, was chained to the oar of the galley 'Nostre Dame.' The felon's fare, the heavy toil, exposure to the wintry elements, undermined his health, but could not break his intrepid spirit. One day an image of the Virgin was presented him to kiss. He refused, when the officer pressed it to his lips. Snatching the image he threw it into the sea, with the words:—

'Lat our ladie now save herself; sche is lycht enoughe, lat hir leirne to swime (Let our lady now save herself; she is light enough, let her learn to swim).'"


[inserted on February 13, 2013]

CHRISTIANITY TODAY (FEATURE: Testimony of 2/7/2013), MY TRAIN WRECK CONVERSION
LEFTIST LESBIAN PROFESSOR REPENTS AND BECOMES A CHRISTIAN!
Comments by Pastor Photios:

Her example speaks volumes to practising homosexuals that their 'orientation' is not foreordained by anyone. The witness in this story is to be highly commended for her spiritual courage and obedience to the Lord. She is now married in the spiritual sense that God intended.
Unrepentant practising homosexuals! Heed the call to Christ!
Are you listening, Clay Aiken? You, too, can 'do' it if you answer God's call to come to Him! May the Lord have mercy upon you and bring you to Him as He did this lady (as well as all others in the same circumstance). Answer His call, and all who do will be saved. Of this, you can be assured. You must truly repent for your sin of practising your homosexuality and obey the Lord by not doing it again.
The Holy Spirit dwells in believers' hearts and will guide you through any thickets, no matter how thick, impeding your spiritual progress.

Your new life can begin NOW!


[inserted on February 9, 2013]

Matthew W. Mason, A SPIRITUAL BANQUET: JOHN CALVIN ON THE LORD'S SUPPER

Comments by Pastor Photios:

Calvin, the Reformation's greatest teacher, believed that Christ is present in the Lord's Supper, but that this is a spiritual, not physical, presence.

For the Reformed truth, which is faithful to Christ and His Word, see this section of The Commentary of Dr. Zacharias Ursinus(1534-1583) on the Heidelberg Catechism (first published in 1563)*, TWENTY-NINTH LORD'S DAY: The Lord's Supper, Q. 78. "Do then the bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ?"

A short excerpt from this wonderful spiritual work:

"We maintain that the true and natural sense of these words is, that the bread is the body of Christ symbolically, that is, it is the sacrament or sign of the body of Christ; or, it signifies the body of Christ. Christ himself interprets these words thus, when he said, This do in remembrance of me. So does Paul when he says, “This cup is the New Testament in my blood” Tertulian says: “The bread which Christ took and distributed among the disciples he made his body, saying, This is my body, that is, it is the FIGURE of my body” Ambrose in like manner, says: “This offering is the FIGURE of the body and blood of our Lord” Augustin also says: “Our Lord did not hesitate to say. This is my body, when he gave THE SIGN of his body.” 2. We may turn the arguments against our opponents thus: The words of Christ must not be changed. Therefore, the interpretation which the advocates of transubstantiation put upon the words of Christ, when they say, Under these forms is, or is contained my body, is false; as also that of the advocates of con-substantiation, when they say, In, with and under this bread, is my body invisibly present. 3. The words of Christ must not be changed, so as to express a different idea from that which he intended. And yet they are often to be changed in order that we may properly understand them, as when he said, “Pluck out thine eye.” “If any man will take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” (Matt. 5:29, 40.) Words must, therefore, be understood according to the nature of the things spoken of. Obj. 5. The language used in testaments must be understood properly, unless there be something about the will of the testator which gives occasion for contention. The supper is the New Testament. Therefore, the language used in reference to it must be understood properly. Ans. We reply to the major proposition, that the language used in testaments must be understood properly if it be spoken properly; and figuratively, if it be spoken figuratively. But if it is maintained that every word must be understood properly, we deny the major; for it is sufficient if the language be clear and intelligible, although it may not be spoken properly, but figuratively. When we know the intention and will of the testator, it is useless to dispute about the language, or words of the testament. So God in the Old Testament spoke figuratively of circumcision, of the Paschal Lamb and of sacrifices. So Christ also spoke figuratively in the New Testament, when he said, Take and drink, This cup is the New Testament in my blood. For there is here a double figure:1. A synecdoche, when he commands them to drink the cup, meaning the wine in the cup. 2. A metonymy, when he calls the cup the New Testament, meaning the reconciliation of the human race with God, sealed with his blood."

The Scriptural evidence is overwhelming that the Lord's Supper is to be understood sacramentally/figuratively, i.e., Christ is spiritually, not bodily, with us in this remembrance that He ordered.

Fittingly, we can terminate this discussion by again referring you to (1) read the Commentator's full discussion of The Lord's Supper (above) (2) as well as the article above about John Calvin's views on it; and, (3) you could then read the relevant parts of the Three Forms of Unity listed below.

*On January 17, 2013, This entire commentary was inserted on this site. [See also THE THREE FORMS OF UNITY: THE HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, THE BELGIC CONFESSION AND THE CANONS OF DORDT + THE ECUMENICAL CREEDS.]


[inserted on February 8, 2013

An Example of Jewish Intolerance and Persecution Against the Christian Faith:

JEWISH CHRISTIAN IN ISRAEL SEEKS PROTECTION FROM REPEATED ATTACKS (December 28, 2012)

Comments by Pastor Photios:

This hatred will be changed when the Jewish nation is restored and converted to Christ. (Read the sermon below inserted on January 31, 2013 - Charles Spurgeon on THE RESTORATION AND CONVERSION OF THE JEWS.)

Remember, any Christian put in the place of this persecuted Jew-turned-Christian has the spiritual duty to forgive his persecutors, as difficult as that may be. Let us ask ourselves if we, really, are true Christians?

Some say we should not evangelise the Jews. This is unbiblical. We must preach the pure Gospel to the world at large. As Pastor Spurgeon says our preaching to the Jews could well use prophesy to demonstrate to them they are still God's people, and they are destined to come to Christ.

Preach the unadulterated Gospel of the Lord and proclaim free grace to all the world, on all who will repent and be converted to Him, whoever they are, whatever race, tribe or creed; they can have the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour if only they come to Him as He calls them through His servants' preaching and/or their receiving of His Word. Truly believe in and trust Him and you will be saved!

The contemporary Jewish nation is "dry bones" (see Ezekiel 37:1-10) now. They still deny their spiritual destiny, which is to be one in Jesus Christ. The Lord commands the "dry bones" to live: and they will!

[See also the excellent commentary by John Gill (1697-1771) on Ezekiel 37:1-28 SCROLL TO EZEKIEL 37:1-28 and HIS BIOGRAPHY.]


[inserted on February 5, 2013]

John Calvin (1509-1564), the greatest spiritual teacher and theologian of the Reformation: a true giant of Holy Scripture interpretation, COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH VOLUME 4, 53:1-12


[inserted on January 31, 2013]

Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), Reformed Baptist, the most published preacher in the world, considered by many the "Prince of Preachers" THE RESTORATION AND CONVERSION OF THE JEWS (1864)
"The Most High is, in a special manner, to have His Sanctuary in the midst of them forever; so that whatever nations may apostatize and turn from the Lord in these latter days (emphasis supplied), the nation of Israel never can, for she shall be effectually and permanently converted—the hearts of the fathers shall be turned with the hearts of the children unto the Lord their God—and they shall be the people of God, world without end."
...
"Remember, Christian, however humble you may be, when you speak God’s Word, that Word has an authority about it which will leave a man without excuse if he rejects it. Always put to your fellow man the Truth of God which you hold dear—not as a thing which he may play with or may do what he likes with—or which is at his option to choose or to neglect as he sees fit; but put it to him as it is in truth, the Word of God. And be not satisfied unless you warn him that it is at his own peril that he rejects the invitation, and that on his own head must be his blood if he turns aside from the good Word of the command of God." (all emphases supplied)


[inserted on January 28, 2013]

Mormons are not Christians. Mormonism is a cult. Please read the following page which effectively exposes the evidence against this group!

SOURCE:

FOR THE LOVE OF HIS TRUTH (A CHRISTIAN BLOG ABOUT FUNDAMENTAL BIBLICAL FACTS) MORMONS A CULT

Comment by Pastor Photios:

The Jesus of the Mormons is not the Jesus of the Bible. This is agreed to by the leading authority on cults and the occult, Dr. Walter Martin (dec. 1989):

In 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, Paul emphasized that there is another Jesus-a counterfeit Jesus, not the real Jesus. He is a Jesus who resembles the Christ of the Bible, but he is not God in human form. The Jesus of the Mormons or the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Jesus of the occult is not the Jesus of the Bible. Today, anyone can say the name of Jesus, so it is critical that the Church ask, "Jesus who?" The only true, New Testament response is Jesus Christ, God the Son, second Person of the Holy Trinity, God in human form. Any other definition is meant to deceive and to sustain the teaching of the demons. The Lord Jesus warned of this in Mark 13:6, when He said that at the end of the ages there would be those coming in His name, claiming to be Christ, and this is exactly what has happened. (all emphases supplied) [WALTER MARTIN, Jill Martin Rische, Kurt Van Gorden, THE KINGDOM OF THE OCCULT (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2008), p. 62]

...

Plus see the following paragraph in which the true nature of Mormonism is referred to as a "cult":

It is a time of anarchy within the Church, when the defense of the faith, as commanded in Jude 3, has been sacrificed upon the altar of compromise by church leaders more interested in methodology than in biblical obedience. This compromise is promoted in the guise of a "new" evangelistic approach that confuses the majority and promotes the media image of Christians as "tolerant." Perhaps the best example of this is the "Evening of Friendship" held on November 14, 2004 in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Christian leaders worshiped with Mormons in their Tabernacle, despite the fact that this cult is intent on the destruction of orthodox Christianity. In the midst of this chaos, is it any wonder that people are confused? Alliances like this demonstrate just how far the Church has strayed from the example of Jesus Christ. Between modern theologians and seminaries, and the feeble attempts of the Church to "relate" to those bent on destroying it, it is easy to see why the visitor in the pew wants nothing to do with Christianity. (emphasis supplied)

[MARTIN, Ibid., p. 40]

Pastor Photios, in conclusion: What do you do if a team of Mormons comes to your apartment or house? It's simple - DON'T LET THEM IN!! They have no right to expect that their deviant demonic opinions be heard, much less respected. Don't give them a forum. Their opinions insult Christ! Show them the 'benign neglect' they deserve!


[inserted on January 25, 2013]

Evil is temporarily thwarted: SUPREME COURT REJECTS ATHEIST'S APPEAL OVER 11-STORY ILLINOIS CROSS!


[inserted on January 25, 2013]

Waylon Jennings (dec. 2002), Country music superstar sings (YouTube video) AWAY IN A MANGER
Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter (YouTube video), SILENT NIGHT


[inserted on January 17, 2013]

THE COMMENTARY of DR. ZACHARIAS URSINUS, on the HEIDELBERG CATECHISM
Dr. Zacharias Ursinus (1534-1583)
Hypertext version prepared by Tim Naab, October, 2010


[inserted on January 15, 2012]

Rt. Rev. Edward Malcolm, Presiding Bishop, Church of England (Continuing), DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME (emphasis supplied)


[inserted on January 15, 2012]

Frank Crimi, OBAMA REBUILDS MOSQUES WHILE CHURCHES BURN
(A must read - let us all pray to the Lord for Obama to be impeached. He is a spiritual disgrace to the American presidency!)


[inserted on January 9, 2012]

C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), one of God's greatest preachers, from The Spurgeon Archive, THE RELIGION OF ROME (a must read from the January 1873 Sword and the Trowel)
(Rev. Spurgeon's words are even truer today at the beginning of 2013!
:

"The sooner we let certain Archbishops and Cardinals know that we are aware of their designs, and will in nothing co-operate with them, the better for us and our country. Of course, we shall be howled at as bigots, but we can afford to smile at that cry, when it comes from the church which invented the Inquisition. 'No peace with Rome' is the motto of reason as well as of religion."


[inserted on January 5, 2012]

THE HIDDEN TREASURE WITHIN US:

Our salvation consists in the manifestation of the nature, life, and spirit of Christ Jesus in our outward and inward new man. This alone renews and regains the first life of God in the soul of man. Wherever you go, whatever you do, at home or at work, do all with a desire for union with Christ, in imitation of His character. Desire only what increases the spirit and life of Christ in your soul. Desire to have everything within you changed into the spirit of the holy Jesus.

Consider the treasure you have within you-the Saviour of the world, the eternal Word of God. It is hidden in your heart as a seed of the divine nature, which overcomes sin and death within you and generates the life of heaven in your soul.

Look in your heart, and your heart will find its Saviour, its God, within itself. If you see and feel nothing of God, it is because you seek Him in books, in the church, in outward religious exercises. You will not find Him there until you have first found Him in your heart. Seek Him in your heart, and you will never seek in vain, for He dwells there in His Holy Spirit! (all emphases supplied).

[Andrew Murray (1828-1917), South African Evangelist, THE PRACTICE OF GOD'S PRESENCE: SEVEN-IN-ONE ANTHOLOGY, (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2000), Book Six: Daily Experience with God, Chapter 25. Your Inner Life, pp. 470-471]


[inserted on December 29, 2012]

WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO QUESTION THE LORD: WE ARE AT HIS MERCY
(See below, Charles Hodge (1797-1878), Commentary On Romans (Still Waters Revival Books - www.PuritanDownloads.com), Rom. 9:20-21, pp. 318-319)
:

Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it. Why hast thou made me thus? See Isaiah xlv. 9. In this clause Paul presents mainly the idea of God's right, and in the subsequent verses he shows that nothing unjust is included in the right here claimed. We are at His mercy; and it is the height of irreverence and folly for us to call Him to account for the manner in which He may see fit to dispose of us.

Hath not the potter power over the clay, if the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

.... This verse is merely an illustration of the idea contained in the last clause of the preceding. The Creator has a perfect right to dispose of his creatures as he sees fit. From the very idea of a creature, it can have no claim on the Creator; whether it exists at all, or how, or where, from the nature of the case, must depend on him, and be at his sovereign disposal. The illustration of this truth which follows, is peculiarly appropriate. When the potter takes a piece of clay into his hands, and approaches the wheel, how entirely does it rest with himself to determine the form that clay shall take, and the use to which it shall be destined? Can anything be more unreasonable, than that the clay, supposing it endued with intelligence, should complain that the form given it was not so comely, or the use to which it was destined not so honourable, as those which fell to the lot of a different portion of the same mass? Are not these points on which the potter has a most perfect right to decide for himself, and regarding which the thing formed can have no right to complain or question? And so it is with God; the mass of fallen men are in his hands, and it is his right to dispose of them at pleasure; to make all vessels unto honour, or all unto dishonour, or some to one and some to the other. These are points on which, from the nature of the relation, we have no right to question or complain. The illustration here employed occurs elsewhere in Scripture, as in Isa. Lxiv. 8, "But now, O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our Potter; and we all are the work of thy hands." See also Isa. xxix. 16, and Jer. xviii. 3—6, "Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel which he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so He made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in my hand, O house of Israel." In the sovereignty here asserted, it is God as moral governor, and not God as creator, who is brought to view. It is not the right of God to create sinful beings in order to punish them, but his right to deal with sinful beings according to his good pleasure, that is here, and elsewhere asserted. He pardons or punishes as he sees fit.


[inserted on December 28, 2012]

COMING TO CHRIST: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)

And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life. (John 5:40)

"For the sinner to come to Christ that he might have life, is for him to realise the awful danger of his situation; is for him to see that the sword of Divine justice is suspended over his head; is to awaken to the fact that there is but a step betwixt him and death, and that after death is the 'judgment;' and in consequence of this discovery, is for him to be in real earnest to escape, and in such earnestness that he shall flee from the wrath to come, cry unto God for mercy, and agonise to enter in at the 'strait gate.'

"To come to Christ for life, is for the sinner to feel and acknowledge that he is utterly destitute of any claim upon God's favour; is to see himself as 'without strength,' lost and undone; is to admit that he is deserving of nothing but eternal death, thus taking side with God against himself; it is for him to cast himself into the dust before God, and humbly sue for Divine mercy.

"To come, to Christ, for life, is for the sinner to abandon his own righteousness and be ready to be made the righteousness of God in Christ; it is to disown his own wisdom, and be guided by His; it is to repudiate his own will and be ruled by His; it is to unreservedly receive the Lord Jesus as his Saviour and Lord, as his All in all.

"Such, in part, and in brief, is what is implied and involved in 'Coming to Christ.'"

Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952), THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, (Baker Books, Fourth Edition), Chapter VIII. God's Sovereignty and Human Responsibility, p. 150


[inserted on December 23, 2012]

Dr. Peter Hammond, Frontline Fellowship, THE GREATEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED


SIX ARTICLES/SERMONS BY JOHN CALVIN, GEORGE WHITEFIELD, MARTIN LUTHER, CHARLES SPURGEON, ATHANASIUS THE GREAT, AND JOHN GILL ON THE NATIVITY OF CHRIST:

[inserted on December 23, 2012

John Calvin (1509-1564), arguably, the greatest Reformer of them all, SERMON ON THE NATIVITY OF JESUS CHRIST


[inserted on December 23, 2012]

George Whitefield (1714-1770), considered by many to be the greatest evangelist since St. Paul, THE OBSERVATION OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST, THE DUTY OF ALL CHRISTIANS; OR THE TRUE WAY OF KEEPING CHRISTMAS


[inserted on December 23, 2012]

Martin Luther (1483-1546), SERMON ON THE AFTERNOON OF CHRISTMAS DAY,
Luke 2:1-14, December 25, 1530


[inserted on December 23, 2012]

Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), a truly great preacher, THE INCARNATION AND BIRTH OF CHRIST (1855)


[inserted on December 23, 2012]

St. Athanasius the Great (c.297-373), his classic ON THE INCARNATION OF THE WORD


[inserted on December 23, 2012]

John Gill (1697-1771), OF THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST
(A fundamental article of the Christian Faith, without believing in it one cannot be a Christian.)


[inserted on December 15, 2012]

IN MEMORIAM OF THE FALLEN IN CONNECTICUT

Satan has struck again. It seems that these massacres of innocents are becoming common place in America. Of interest is a comment about the killer by a woman whose college-age son knew him. She told the Associated Press her son "just said he was very thin, very remote and was one of the Goths." It is possible that this may turn out to be demonically-related. Probably though, the mainstream media (i.e., the 'biased ones,' all but Fox News) will not follow up on any possible connexion to the Goth subculture. If the killer had been a Bible-quoting Baptist, the elite media would launch a full media campaign against the Christian Church. In our contemporary American life, getting at and to the truth is increasingly difficult due to the liberal media bias that permeates the news 'culture'.

In any case, here is, yet again, another apparent loner, dressed up in black military garb, bullet-proof vest, with multiple weapons, playing out a warped fantasy and directing his hatred against his mother (whom he shot in the face), young innocents (some shot multiple times, one, eleven times) and their heroic protectors. He then took his own life.

Despite being so very heartbroken, the relatives of all those massacred must go on. The healing takes time, and the survivors will suffer considerably. Not only the relatives suffer through the healing process, but the other young students and teachers at the school, plus the surrounding community. America at large will also suffer.

But, then, what will happen?

Nothing, except wait for the next tragedy. (On the same day a bit earlier than the Conn killings, a high school student in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, was arrested for threatening to carry out an attack at the school where he would lock students in an enclosure, then kill all of them. He is in jail under a $1,000,000 bond. Expect to see more 'copycats' in the future.)

We should see clearly that we, in ourselves, are powerless to deal with the evil existing in our society. Only through prayer to God and by the preaching witness of the Gospel in our lives can our hearts be softened and we be inwardly spiritually transformed into His people. Our families must be Godly ones, united, not divided, in Christ. Pray to the Lord tonight and throw yourselves on His mercy. Those who come to Him, He will not deny. The West, particularly the United States, desperately needs thorough spiritual reformation. God is sovereign: never forget it!


[inserted on December 15, 2012]

WE CAN'T SPIRITUALLY CLEANSE OURSELVES:

And such being the depth of man's corruption, it is wholly beyond his own power to cleanse himself. His only hope of an amendment of life lies accordingly in a change of heart, which change is brought about by the sovereign re-creative power of the Holy Spirit who works when and where and how He pleases. As well might one attempt to pump a leaking ship while the leak is still unmended, as to reform the unregenerate without this inward change. Or as well might the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots, as he who is accustomed to do evil correct his ways. This transfer from spiritual death to spiritual life we call "regeneration." It is referred to in Scripture by various terms: "regeneration," a "making alive," a "calling out of darkness into light," a "quickening," a "renewing," a taking away of the heart of stone and giving the heart of flesh, etc., which work is exclusively that of the Holy Spirit. As a result of this change a man comes to see the truth and gladly accepts it. His very instincts and intimate impulses are transferred to the side of law, obedience to which becomes but the spontaneous expression of his nature. Regeneration is said to be wrought by that same supernatural power which God wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead (Eph. 1:18-20). Man does not possess the power of self-regeneration, and until this inward change takes place, he cannot be convinced of the truth of the Gospel by any amount of external testimony. "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead." (all emphases in italics supplied)

Loraine Boettner (1901-1990), THE REFORMED DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION (1932), Section II, The Five Points Of Calvinism, Chapter X. Total Inability, pp.67-68


[inserted on December 15, 2012]

SOUND SPIRITUAL ADVICE

"Let us endeavour to cultivate diligently the devotional spirit of the Psalmists. Or, better still, let us take for our example the spirit of Jesus himself for whom notwithstanding the busy scenes of a most public career no distractions existed, to whom every call upon his strength became an occasion for meeting with God, a real contact with God, because the fountains of his strength lay hidden deep in the recesses of his inner life where he and the Father always beheld each other's face." (all emphases supplied)

Geerhardus Vos (1862-1949), from his GRACE AND GLORY (FEEDBOOKS 1903), Chapter 8 Songs from the Soul - Psalm 25:14, The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant., p. 92


[inserted on December 8, 2012]

CHOICE HAS CONSEQUENCES

Comment by Pastor Photios:

Choice unavoidably involves the rejection of that not chosen. Otherwise, choice would be meaningless, choosing x rather than y rejects y. There is only one winner of the American Super Bowl, or "American Idol". If someone starts as quarterback, then the backup doesn't start in that position. The coach selects his team, and usually his word is final.

That's the way it is, also, with our Lord, except His word is always final. He runs His own game; He is sovereign, all-powerful. Before the foundation of the world, the Father chose/selected some as His people to be saved:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:
Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will
(Eph. 1:3-5).

The Son died for them (the elect) only on the Cross. Christ did not die on the Cross for the non-elect. If God wanted to save everyone, then He would have said and done so. In such a scenario, there would have been no reprobates. There would not have been "an elect" unless you wish to consider that since all people would be saved, then all would be called elect. No sense to this though. Even an unrepentant Adolf Hitler would be 'good enough' for heaven, wow! Sort of a Joel Osteen kind of world wouldn't it be? The same lack of accountability that he finds so unspiritually attractive (apparently). (Incidentally, it doesn't even take a review of Osteen's views and practices to see the heresy oozing from his quarters in Houston. It is enough said that 30,000 choose to attend his 'church'. A good rule of thumb is that if you see a spiritual activity taking place in today's culture where large numbers are attending, you can take it to the bank that Satan and his band of false teachers are heading up the show!)

Now about the sovereignty of God's choice ; the Doctrines of Predestination and Reprobation are soundly supported by Holy Scripture. For an overwhelmingly convincing Scriptural analysis, just spiritually bristling with the Lord's word on Reprobation, please see A.W. Pink's Chapter V. THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN REPROBATION, from his classic THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD (Baker Books, Paperback, Fourth Edition, 1949). See Romans 9 in particular for the doctrine of Reprobation.

Who are the reprobates? You and I have a natural tendency to deny that we are part of 'that crowd,' don't we? Well, reprobates are those not chosen as the elect. Those not elected, i.e., the "rest," the remainder, are "hardened," refused. These are nothing other than the reprobate. There are only two classes, one, saved and the other rejected. See Rom. 11:7 and Pink's discussion of this passage at p. 98:

"What then? That which Israel seeketh for, that he obtained not, but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened" (Rom. 11:7 R.V.). Here we have two distinct and defined classes which are set in sharp antithesis: the "election" and "the rest"; the one "obtained", the other is "hardened". On this verse we quote from the comments by John Bunyan of immortal memory:- "These are solemn words: they sever between men and men-the election and the rest, the chosen and the left, the embraced and the refused. By 'rest' here must needs be understood those not elect, because set the one in opposition to the other, and if not elect, whom then but reprobate?"

Pink, Ibid., at p. 105 quotes John Calvin regarding Predestination as the decree of God:

"Predestination we call the decree of God, by which He has determined in Himself, what He would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny: but eternal life is foreordained for some, and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, he is predestinated either to life or to death" - from John Calvin's "Institutes" (1530 A.D.) Book III, Chapter XXI entitled "Eternal Election, or God's Predestination of Some to Salvation and of Others to Destruction."

Please note that this statement by John Calvin is true Calvinism, not what is called Hyper-Calvinism. Pink lists and discusses a variety of Scriptural passages plainly implying or expressly teaching the "fact of reprobation". Here is his statement regarding his findings from Scripture:

Here, then, are no less than ten passages which most plainly imply or expressly teach the fact of reprobation. They affirm that the wicked are made for the Day of Evil; that God fashions some vessels unto dishonor; and by His eternal decree (objectively) fits them unto destruction; that they are like brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, being of old ordained unto this condemnation. Therefore in the face of these scriptures we unhesitatingly affirm (after nearly twenty years careful and prayerful study of the subject) that the Word of God unquestionably teaches both (emphasis supplied) Predestination and Reprobation, or to use the words of Calvin, "Eternal Election is God's predestination of some to salvation, and others to destruction". Ibid., p. 100.

CLOSING COMMENTS EXPRESSLY DIRECTED TO AMERICA'S WICKED, IN PARTICULAR TO THOSE WHO REGULARLY OR PERIODICALLY BLASPHEME OR REJECT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST:

The Lord is responsible for planning and operating His world even if you, individually, do not believe in Him. If you are part of the growing proportion of young people and others who are rejecting Christ directly or indirectly, ask yourselves why you are taking such a perilous course? Why do you rail against the Lord? What is it in your life that has driven you to this point? Is it your friends' influence? Do they counsel you against Him? If so, you need other friends and mighty fast. Is your adversity to Christ derived from your background? Do you shun Him because you are ashamed of the Cross? Have you ever thought about why you have rejected Him (you think)?

I say, you think, having in mind the conversion of the anti-Christian persecutor Saul who morphed into Paul, the hardest working apostle whose life gloriously ended with his martyrdom for Christ. You know none of us knows exactly whether or not we are His people. Take John Newton (1725-1807): he had been a slave trader and a captain of a slaving ship, but He had selected John for His life. John is perhaps best known for his wonderful hymn, Amazing Grace! C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), a very spiritual Christian, had been an atheist in his youth. God called him though when he was in his early 30s (33 I believe - interesting number, eh?), and his life was forever changed:

What is surprising is that Lewis was not always a Christian, but was a committed atheist for much of his youth. God had other plans for the young author, including his conversion to Christianity in his early thirties. See C.S. LEWIS' CHRISTIAN CONVERSION plus this excerpt from the same article about his conversion:

Although Lewis had turned his back on God and Christianity, God certainly did not forget about him. Although some biographies contend that Lewis had a "Road to Damascus" conversion, like Paul's dramatic change of heart on the roadside, most scholars admit that Lewis' conversion was a longer process.

Lewis writes, "In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed," describing himself as "the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England." Although Lewis was filled with doubts and concerns regarding Christianity, God seemed to be preparing Lewis's heart for change.

In September, 1931, when Lewis was thirty three years old, he had a long discussion about Christianity with J.R.R. Tolkien (who was a devout Roman Catholic) and Hugo Dyson (a friend and committed Christian). That all-night conversation planted even more "seeds" in Lewis's heart. Lewis wrote in Surprised by Joy about what happened a week later as he headed out to a local zoo with his brother Warren: "When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did."

Apparently sometime during that ride God touched Lewis's heart, and opened his eyes to Jesus' love and compassion. Was this his Damascus story -- conversion on the way to the zoo? Or was it a culmination of all the "seeds" that had been planted throughout Lewis's life? Only God and Lewis know for certain, but after his conversion, God certainly started to bless Lewis's life, including his writing.

Note that Lewis rejected Christianity for half his life, then God called him. Lewis was one of the elect even though he didn't know it. In 2000, his classic Mere Christianity was named the best book of the twentieth century by CHRISTIANITY TODAY .

My reprobate friends, it is never too late during our lives here on earth for God to call us. If you begin to doubt your own adequacy, this is a positive sign. The poorer in spirit you are, the more wretched you feel, the more you see you cannot help yourself, the more it means you may be ready for Him... . God will never turn down anyone who comes to Him:

"The doctrine of Reprobation does not mean that God refuses to save those who earnestly seek salvation (emphasis supplied). The fact is the reprobate have no longing for the Saviour: they see in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. They will not come to Christ-why then should God force them to? He turns away none who do come- where then is the injustice of God fore-determining their just doom? None will be punished but for their iniquities; where then, is the supposed tyrannical cruelty of the Divine procedure? Remember that God is the Creator of the wicked, not of their wickedness: He is the Author of their being, but not the infuser of their sin." (Pink, The Sovereignty of God, Chapter V., The Sovereignty of God in Reprobation, Ibid., pp. 100-101)

If you are dissatisfied with your spiritual state and are realising that you are, indeed, a sinner and you earnestly want salvation, all you have to do is come to the Lord. You are being drawn by the Holy Spirit because you now doubt your own spiritual adequacy, humility is vital. The lower and more down-and-out you are, the more likely the time is ripe for you. Christ will never force you to come to Him, but He stands ready for you when you do. But, remember He is calling you, not the other way around!


[inserted on December 7, 2012]

HEAR THIS!

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. (John 14:6)


[inserted on November 23, 2012]

GOD IS SOVEREIGN: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? THE BUCK STOPS WITH HIM!

"We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the godhood of God. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Ps. 115:3). To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is 'The Governor among the nations' (Ps. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that he is the 'Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords' (I Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible."

A.W. Pink (1886-1952), in his classic THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, I., God's Sovereignty Defined, p. 19


[inserted on November 22, 2012]

YAWNING IN THE WOMB AT 24 WEEKS
Comment by Pastor Photios: How can you kill this precious one?


[inserted on November 21, 2012]

PRAYER by John Hus (c.1369-1415)

"Almighty Lord, who art the way, the truth, and the life, Thou knowest how few in the present time walk with Thee, how few imitate Thee as their head, in humility, poverty, chastity, diligence, and patience. Open is the way of Satan; many walk therein. Help Thy weak flock, that it may not forsake Thee, but follow Thee unto the end in the narrow way. (all emphases supplied)."

JAN HUS BIOGRAPHY


[inserted on November 21, 2012]

Rev. J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH (1929)
(excellent article for all Christians)

STANDING FIRM FOR THE FAITH - J. GRESHAM MACHEN


[inserted on November 12, 2012]

Gary DeMar, THE GENEVA BIBLE: THE FORGOTTEN TRANSLATION


[inserted on November 12, 2012]

A CALVINISTIC VIEW OF THE JEWS
(You might be surprised)

Comments by Pastor Photios:

Compare what newly re-elected Pres Barack Hussein Obama believes about the Jews to God's view as in Holy Scripture as discussed in the immediately above article:

P. David Hornik (September 7, 2012), OBAMA'S WAR ON JEWISH JERUSALEM

If you are a Christian and still voted for him, shame, shame on you.


[inserted on November 11, 2012]

Mary Winslow (1774-1854), WALKING WITH JESUS
(Spiritual meditations for pilgrims in a weary land on their way to glory!)


[inserted on November 10, 2012]

CIVIL LIBERTY REQUIRES AS A 'FIRST STEP' THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

Calvinism draws a 'boundary line' between church and state.

"It gives to each its distinct sphere, and demands that the one shall not assume the prerogatives of the other. In this it differs from Lutheranism, 'which soon settled down at peace with princes, while Calvinism was ever advancing and ever contending with the rulers of this world;' and from the Anglican system, which began with Henry VIII. as its head in place of the pope. This distinction between Church and State is, as the eminent Yale professor, Dr. Fisher, remarks, 'the first step, the necessary condition, in the development of religious liberty, without which civil liberty is an impossibility (emphases supplied).'"

Rev. N. S. McFetridge, 1882, Presbyterian Board of Publication, Philadelphia, CALVINISM IN HISTORY, Lecture 1. Calvinism as a Political Force


[inserted on November 9, 2012]

Leonard W. Pine, THE STORY OF CALVINISM IN THE NEW WORLD: A SYNOPSIS


[inserted on November 8, 2012]

DOES GOD LOVE OR HATE YOU?

A. W. Pink (1886-1952):

"‘Thou hatest all workers of iniquity’—not merely the works of iniquity. Here, then, is a flat repudiation of present teaching that, God hates sin but loves the sinner; Scripture says, ‘Thou hatest all workers of iniquity’ (Ps. 5:5)! ‘God is angry with the wicked every day.’ ‘He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God’—not ‘shall abide,’ but even now—‘abideth on him’ (Ps. 5:5; 8:11; John 3:36). Can God ‘love’ the one on whom His ‘wrath’ abides? Again; is it not evident that the words ‘The love of God which is in Christ Jesus’ (Rom. 8:39) mark a limitation, both in the sphere and objects of His love? Again; is it not plain from the words ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated’ (Rom. 9:13) that God does not love everybody? ... Is it conceivable that God will love the damned in the Lake of Fire? Yet, if He loves them now He will do so then, seeing that His love knows no change—He is ‘without variableness or shadow of turning!’" [Pink's classic The Sovereignty of God, p. 248].

The above quotation is one of many similar pieces of spiritual evidence on the plain fact that He hates the reprobate included within Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena, Northern Ireland, GOD'S HATRED OF THE REPROBATE


[inserted on November 6, 2012]

OBAMA WINS (Comments by Pastor Photios below)

America deserves what she has received tonight.

The state of the country is abysmal, morally, ethically and economically. We should consider this as a warning shot across the bow so to speak about our fast declining state. Yet, many times God allows bad things to happen (but He does not cause them or do evil) and out of them good eventually comes. Will this be one of those times? No one can say for sure.

It may be more spiritually likely that He is closing down the American game, which has been the envy of the world. He may, indeed, be doing this because of our disobedience of His commandments. After all, how can He consider a nation that secularly legitimises the slaughter of over 53,000,000 babies in the womb to be even nominally Christian? He has always taught and believed that the killing of precious babies in the womb is willful murder. How can we be considered Christians in the face of such rampant and disgusting behaviour? The valiant relative few who strive to protect these innocents are much to be admired, and He will reward them for their service on His behalf. The rest of us? What will happen to us? Think about it as you hit the pillow tonight. It's a sobering thought.

God is certainly justified in closing us out. We are a far cry from the American values of our forefathers. We don't even pay lip service to those attributes we once had that distinguished ourselves from the rest of the world. We led the world from a position of moral strength when we believed in Him in our hearts and, at least, made the good ole college try to obey Him. That seems so long ago. Now a growing percentage in the country disavows any connection with God, and we have just re-elected a president who is carrying on a persistent campaign of persecution against Christ. My brethren, the time for Christian believers to suffer seems to be bearing down on us with breakneck speed. Will we be up to the task of standing up for Jesus in the face of the upcoming persecution? Tonight, pray to Christ that He extend His mercy to us and strengthen us to survive the coming days, no matter when they arrive. Ask the Lord to prepare us for our American catacombs, if this is the cup we must drink.


[inserted on November 4, 2012]

Rev. Charles J. Terpstra, Protestant Reformed Church, October 15, 2000 PREDESTINATION ACCORDING TO JOHN KNOX


[inserted on November 3, 2012]

Comment by Pastor Photios:

A. W. Pink (1886-1952), one of the greatest Calvinists who ever lived, vividly speaks to us in these two offerings. Soak them up and pray that He will transform our lives!

THE NARROW WAY and

IS CHRIST YOUR LORD?


[inserted on November 3, 2012]

A SPIRITUAL TIDBIT ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE GOD'S ELECT

John Gill (1697-1771) BIOGRAPHY, a brief extract from his sermon preached on August 11, 1745, WHO SHALL LAY ANYTHING TO THE CHARGE OF GOD'S ELECT? IT IS GOD THAT JUSTIFIETH

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. ROMANS 8:33, 34

"The elect of God are a select number of men, of Adam's posterity; for elect angels are not here meant: they are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; not whole nations, churches, bodies, and communities of men, but particular persons; they are such who are separated and set apart from the rest of mankind, and are alone, and are not reckoned among the nations: as they are redeemed and called, so they are chosen out of all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues; and though, considered by themselves, they are a great number, which no man can number; yet, comparatively, they are but few, many be called, but few chosen, Matthew 20:16."


[inserted on October 31, 2012]

ON REFORMATION DAY WE SHOULD CONSIDER WHAT PROTESTANTISM REALLY IS

"Protestantism is not solely the outcome of human progress; it is no mere principle of perfectibility inherent in humanity, and ranking as one of its native powers, in virtue of which when society becomes corrupt it can purify itself, and when it is arrested in its course by some external force, or stops from exhaustion, it can recruit its energies and set forward anew on its path. It is neither the product of the individual reason, nor the result of the joint thought and energies of the species. Protestantism is a principle which has its origin outside human society: it is a Divine graft on the intellectual and moral nature of man, whereby new vitalities and forces are introduced into it, and the human stem yields henceforth a nobler fruit. It is the descent of a heaven-born influence which allies itself with all the instincts and powers of the individual, with all the laws and cravings of society, and which, quickening both the individual and the social being into a new life, and directing their efforts to nobler objects, permits the highest development of which humanity is capable, and the fullest possible accomplishment of all its grand ends. In a word, Protestantism is revived (emphasis supplied) Christianity."

Rev. J.A. Wylie (1808-1890), THE HISTORY OF PROTESTANTISM, Volume 1 Book 1, Chapter 1


[inserted on October 31 (REFORMATION DAY), 2012]

Dr. Peter Hammond, South African evangelist, on HOW THE REFORMATION CHANGED THE WORLD
(A must read for all of our spiritual lives; the impact of the Reformation is almost incalculable on both the United States and the world!) PLEASE read this article before casting your vote for the American presidency on November 6, 2012!


[inserted on October 31, 2012]

Anglican Bishop of Liverpool J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), REAL PRESENCE. WHAT IS IT?


[inserted on October 25, 2012]

Africa Christian Action, THE DEMONIC TRUTH ABOUT HALLOWEEN
(Don't let your children 'trick or treat': it's dangeous for the soul!)


[inserted on October 18, 2012]

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001), an excerpt from his IN GOD'S UNDERGROUND

IN PRISON, GOD BROUGHT THE PASTOR'S COMMUNIST ATHEIST PERSECUTOR TO CHRIST:

Grecu returned on time, swinging his truncheon. He had been beating prisoners.

He picked up my “Declaration” and began to read. After a while, he put the truncheon aside. When he came to the end he looked at me with troubled eyes. He said, “Mr. Wurmbrand (he had never called me “Mr.” before), why do you say you love me? This is one of your Christian commandments that no one can keep. I couldn’t love someone who shut me up for years alone, who starved and beat me.” I said, “It’s not a matter of keeping a commandment. When I became a Christian it was as if I had been reborn, with a new character that was full of love. Just as only water can flow from a spring, so only love can come from a loving heart.”

For two hours we talked about Christianity and its relation to the Marxist doctrines on which he was brought up. Grecu was surprised when I said Marx’s first work was a commentary on John’s Gospel; nor did he know that Marx, in his foreword to Das Kapital, wrote that Christianity—especially in its Protestant form—is “the ideal religion for the renewal of lives made wretched by sin.” Since my life had been made wretched by sin, I said, I was simply following Marx’s advice in becoming a Protestant Christian.

After this meeting Grecu called me to his office almost every day for an hour or two. He had confirmed the quotations. This became the pretext for long discussions about Christianity, in which I stressed its democratic and revolutionary early spirit.

Repeatedly, Grecu said, “I was brought up an atheist, and I’ll never be anything else.” I told him, “Atheism is a holy word for Christians. Our forefathers, when they were thrown to the wild beasts for their faith, were called atheists by Nero and Caligula. So if anyone calls himself an atheist, I respect him.”

Grecu smiled. I went on, “Lieutenant, one of my ancestors was a rabbi of the seventeenth century. His biographers record how he met an atheist and said, ‘I envy you, dear brother! Your spiritual life must be so much stronger than my own. When I see a man in trouble I often say, “God will help him,” and pass on. You don’t believe in God, so you have to take on his burdens and help everyone you meet.’

“Christians don’t criticize the Party for atheism, but for producing the wrong type of atheist. There are two sorts: those who say, ‘There is no God, so I can do all the evil I like,’ and those who reason, ‘Since there is no God, I must do all the good that God would do if He existed.’ The greatest of all ‘atheists’ in this second sense was Christ Himself. When He saw men hungry, sick, and in distress, He didn’t pass on, saying, ‘God will help them.’ He acted as if the whole responsibility were His own. So people began to ask, ‘Is this man God? He does God’s work!’ That is how they discovered that Jesus was God. Lieutenant, in order to become this sort of ‘atheist,’ loving everyone and serving everyone, you must become a son of God, and you yourself will then have the Godhead living in you.”

These arguments may shock some people. But the apostle Paul tells us that missionaries must be as Jews among the Jews, Greeks among the Greeks. I had to be a Marxist with the Marxist Grecu and speak the language he understood. The words went to his heart. He began to think and to love Jesus. Two weeks later, in his khaki uniform with the blue tabs of the Security Police at his collar, Grecu confessed faith in Christ to me in my patched prison rags. We became brethren.

From then on, he bravely helped prisoners as best he could, through difficulties and dangers. He still gave lip service to the Party and played an outward role, but one day he disappeared, and no one knew what became of him. I made cautious inquiries among the guards, who thought he had been arrested. To hide a true conversion is not easy.

[Wurmbrand, Richard (2011-01-10). In God's Underground (Kindle Locations 879-882). Living Sacrifice Book Company. Kindle Edition.]

Comments by Pastor Photios:

For all Christians, there is a price to pay. Here, in America, particularly during the last 40 years of the 20th century and in the 12+ years of the 21st, many so-called Christians have thought that such a penalty was not an integral part of being His. But they are sadly mistaken. Only if we suffer, can we claim to be Christ's. He suffered for us on the Cross. He saves those who become His. Pray to Him tonight that He will call you to be His. Then, rest assured He will!


[inserted on October 11, 2012]

JOHN 3:18: A HOLY SCRIPTURE FROM THAT MOST SPIRITUAL OF THE GOSPELS, FOR ALL OF US TO CONSIDER CAREFULLY EACH AND EVERY DAY:

He that believeth in Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the Only-begotten Son of God (John 3:18).

Comments by Pastor Photios:

Yet, remember that belief in Him, alone; that is to say, where one's belief in Christ does not lead to that person's spiritual transformation is not enough. A believer in Him must be a genuine believer. The true (genuine) believer is changed in the heart by Him. From the moment of belief, his heart is warmed by the presence of the Lord within him. So, our belief in Him must be backed up by action on His behalf, for His glory! A true believer cannot just go on with his life as before, in his customary sinful way. If we say we believe in Him but do not rectify our sinful lives, we cannot expect Him to save us. And He won't! Perhaps, now, you object and tell me to look at the first part of John 3: 18 He that believeth in Him is not condemned... You say, isn't that "crystal clear"? But the words "believeth in Him" carry with them an implication of true belief, true belief requires spiritual followup. Here is the interpretation of the ancient Orthodox Church as stated by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria in his THE EXPLANATION OF THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN, translated from the original Greek by Fr. Christopher Slade, Chrysostom Press, House Springs, MO, 2007, p. 54. :

What is the meaning of the words He that believeth in Him is not condemned? Certainly not that a believer who continues to lead an unclean life will escape condemnation. Such a man is not a genuine believer; as Paul says, They profess that they know God, but with their works they deny Him [Titus 1:16].

The second part of John 3:18 shows us how serious it is if we have rejected Him as our Saviour. The Lord directs this part against those who contemptuously reject Him. Let us see what John Calvin has to say about this point:

But he who believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the Only-begotten God. This means that there is no other remedy by which any human being can escape death; or, in other words, that for all who reject the life given to them in Christ, there remains nothing but death, since life consists in nothing else than in faith.... But it ought to be observed that Christ speaks especially of those whose wickedness shall be displayed in open contempt of the Gospel. For though it is true that there never was any other remedy for escaping death than that men should betake themselves to Christ, yet as Christ here speaks of the preaching of the Gospel, which was to be spread throughout the whole world, he directs his discourse against those who deliberately and maliciously extinguish the light which God had kindled. [John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel of John, 3:18]

Not believing in Him, meaning choosing "to remain outside the light is, in and of itself, the greatest of punishments". Such unbelief by choice, which shows contempt for the Lord, condemns one per se in this life, and his future in hell is guaranteed. His life on earth until physical death will be spiritually dead. Consciously rejecting the Saviour (which shows contempt for Him), carries the sentence of spiritual death due to the nature of the act of rejection. Such an unbeliever "is already (emphasis supplied) condemned in this life because of the certainty of his future punishment. He will not even be brought to judgment, in accordance with that saying, For this reason shall the ungodly not stand up in judgement [Ps. 1:5]. The ungodly man no more deserves a reckoning of his deeds than does the devil. Therefore he will not be resurrected for judgement, but for condemnation". [See the full discussion by Blessed Theophylact, op. cit., pp. 54-55.]

The plain fact of the matter is that people who do evil love darkness rather than light. Unbelievers, who know of the Lord and His teaching, i.e., know of His light and then choose the darkness have no excuse or defense. They knew about Him, the Gospel gave them the opportunity to follow the Lord's light. Due to their evil natures, they refused His call. [Id., see Bl. Theophylact's discussion of John 3:19-21, in particular, on p. 55.]

In the Reformed Faith, we could say that such reprobates were not of the elect, God did not choose them as one of His. They are left where they are, unregenerate. There is no injustice in leaving a person to get what he or she deserves.

As you continue on your life here on earth, look around you and be aware and wary of today's secular politically-correct environment, notice the persecution actively going on against our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As this is being written, society steps up its intense compaign to oust Jesus' name AND His influence from all political and/or social discourse. Our very freedoms are at stake. The percentage of Americans who acknowledge that they are Christian continues to fall. Those people who reject Christ are doomed as of now. They have had plenty of knowledge about Him, but they still reject Him. Their judgment is already delivered by the nature of their contemptuous rejection of Christ Jesus.

Don't you be one of these! Reject the devil's darkness and draw near to the light of Christ seeking His Truth in humble prayer. He will accept you, come into your life and the Holy Spirit will guide you along the true path. You question whether it can happen this way to you? Then, remember that He can do anything! Saul (to be the Apostle Paul) had been and was at the time an avid persecutor of Christ's people. His calling from the Lord, 'out of the blue' from his perspective, changed him forever. Paul became the greatest traveling apostle. God has called convicts, murderers, rapists, slave traders. drug dealers and users to list just a few. Had Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini or Osama bin Laden genuinely repented and believed in Him before their deaths, He would have saved them too. If Robert Mugable of Zimbabwe genuinely repents and believes in Him before he dies, he will be saved. Strategy for you and me? Just reject the darkness and follow the light. He will find us. It's that simple!


[inserted on October 3, 2012]

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001), MARX AND SATAN
(a must read!)

Comments by Pastor Photios:

Richard Wurmbrand was a dedicated servant of the Lord, who knew no compromise in his loyalty to Him. Imprisoned for 14 years total by the brutal communist regime in his native Rumania, he suffered almost unimaginable persecution wrought by Satan through his diabolical vehicle for Christian slaughter, communism. He experienced the brutality of communism as hardly anyone else did who lived to tell about it. This book is still germane today, in 2012. Russia teems with the same kinds of communists as before perestroika. They simply refer to themselves a bit differently, quite similar really to what false teachers do when they introduce even the smallest changes into the true Gospel of Christ but pretend to be, still, true Christians; yet they know in their cold hearts exactly what they are doing. Since the Iron Curtain 'fell,' Russia has been busy 'resovietising' itself and cozying up, as usual, with its antichrist partner, that specialist in spiritual deception, the 20th-21st century Moscow Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church. From the Bolshevik Revolution forward, the communists placed their spies in the clerical echelons and co-opted others all the way to the top of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Now, the spy agency has changed its name but not its true nature, and the game is being played over again. Putin is Russia's idea of a hero, a tough guy, who probably yearns to be the Russian tsar. Economic 'freedom' has not turned out to be what many would have preferred there, so expect further advances by the communists or other despots.

Some Communist 'Hotspots':

RED CHINA is the shining star of worldwide communism, but, of course, their economic success is owed to partial adoption of moderate capitalistic methods. Their record on individual human rights is still abysmal, and you can expect the same violent response to any future 'problems' like peacefully expressing one's political views, which are at variance with the Red Government's official party line.

In AFRICA, radical Islamic terrorism continues to savage non-Muslims and even Muslims in many countries. In particular, Christians are being killed and their churches destroyed as we write, e.g., in Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria etc. Communists and Islamic jihadists are at one in their hatred of Christians. They don't have to be working together for each to benefit from the other's actions.

In ZIMBABWE, formerly the African paradise (relative to almost all the rest of Africa) of Rhodesia, the communist government has been actively persecuting white farmers and all others who oppose this sadistic regime. They have stolen the white farmers' farms and put their cronies in their homes instead. Consequently, Zimbabwe is on the verge of mass starvation, its currency the laughing stock of the world with an inflation rate so immense as to be considered almost infinite. Morals are a joke and AIDs rampant, infecting sizeable proportions of the people. The good people of Zimbabwe, and there are many many, black and white, deserve so much more. They should pray to God as we should for Him to bring them relief from the despot in charge. Their 'leader', of course, is no different than 90-95% of the other African tinhorn dictators who have been, or are, in charge, who prey on their own people, transfer their stolen wealth (of the country) to foreign bank accounts, and ready themselves for a wealthy life in exile whenever they are turned out or discovered to be the Godless frauds that they are.

In SOUTH AFRICA, the 'democratic' elections brought about by the Afrikaners' voluntary ceding of South Africa to the communist killers of the left brought into power God-despising tyrannical communists. Since the 'takeover,' the government has 'looked the other way' as over 3300 South African Boers (farmers) have been butchered and killed in other ways in their homes. [See "Since 1994, close to 3,363 farmers and family members have been murdered in thousands of farm attacks, with many being brutally tortured and/or raped. Some victims have been burned with smoothing irons or had boiling water poured down their throats."]

The killing goes on, now, in 2012, and will continue, apparently until God decides to right these satanic crimes. The government has been busy passing legislation which is designed to destroy Christianity. But He will not be mocked. The crime rate is out of control. Considering the way in which South Africa is being destroyed internally (where no one is safe, including the black majority that put the despots in power), it would be a blessing to the South African people, in particular now the oppressed persecuted whites who suffer even more than the blacks under Apartheid, if God returned the whites to power there with, of course, Divine instructions that Apartheid is not to be reinstituted. Some prophesy, or have prophesied that this indeed will happen in the future. Ironically, such a change is unlikely to occur within a purely democratic political framework. But God is sovereign. Trust in Him only.

I have inserted just a few global instances above to illustrate that the evil of communism still exists, call it by whatever deceptive name you will. Even though the Iron Curtain fell due in part to President Ronald Reagan's efforts and also to the inevitability of this Godless system collapsing in on itself economically, the same, or followers of this evil system, now perpetuate it in a somewhat different, yet still tyrannical form. The 'bad boys' have simply reinvented themselves. Democracy, alone, cannot insulate us from this evil. Overwhelming voting majorities on racial lines, such as in South Africa, will lead to the extreme of anarchy, as South Africa is rapidly approaching now. Many there and in Zimbabwe will recall fondly the 'good old days' of European imperialism before this new monster is expunged by His actions.


[inserted on September 26, 2012]

Dr. Matthew McMahon, CALVINISM IN THE EARLY CHURCH (THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE TAUGHT BY THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS)
with additional comments by Pastor Photios

These early fathers of the Church were cognizant of, and supported, predestination, including the five points commonly discussed by John Calvin and other Calvinists (including Luther who, contrary to some people’s views, also believed in double predestination). Those five points are:

Total Depravity

Unconditional Election

Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption)

Irresistible Grace

Perseverance of the Saints

Now these five points are nowhere near the totality of Calvinism, the latter being nothing more or less than the faith of the Gospel, but they are the ones that liberals/supporters of man’s free will rail against the most. The authors of this short article of quotations cite a number of early fathers from the 1st to 4th centuries. Even though the quotations are ‘taken out of context,’ it is impossible to dispute their clear meanings. They stand alone in their truth because they are supported by Scripture. Any tradition which does not support or contradicts the Gospel (taken here to include all the Holy Scriptures as an organic whole) is spiritually illegitimate.

See Loraine Boettner’s THE REFORMED DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Phillipsburg, New Jersey, 1932). He lists the spiritual evidence and discusses the overwhelming support for predestination as God’s plan in Holy Scripture in this classic work. Man does not have free will in regard to his salvation. He, man, is not a team saviour with Christ. Man does not act separately from His sovereignty. God is sovereign and man cannot act outside of His sovereign control:

“We are very sure that no property does, or can, attach to the will of man, whether fallen or unfallen, that can take it beyond the reach of God’s sovereign control. Saul was called at the height of his persecuting zeal and was transformed into the saintly Paul. The poor dying thief on the cross was called in the last hour of his earthly life. When Paul preached at Antioch ‘as many as were ordained to eternal life (and only they) believed,’ Acts 13:48. If God purposed that all men should be saved He most certainly could bring all to salvation. But for reasons which have been only partly revealed, He leaves many impenitent. Through all of His works, however, God does nothing which is inconsistent with man’s nature as a rational and responsible being.” (Boettner, Ibid., p. 169.)

It is absurd to believe that man can thwart God’s will. If God has willed that all will be saved, why then haven’t all people been saved? Did God save an impenitent Adolf Hitler? Certainly not. If God really intends to save everyone, then by the evidence He is a failure in this regard, isn’t He? Probably, few relatively have been saved. Also, just think about this – if He really saves everyone, then no one need pray to Him to seek anyone’s salvation, since all are being saved anyway. As Boettner says: "If God actually stood powerless before the majesty of man’s lordly will, there would be but little use to pray for Him to convert any one. It would then be more reasonable for us to direct our petitions to the man himself." (Ibid., p. 171.) Once we do that, of course, we deny that God is sovereign. Such a denial is quite popular today in our secular devil’s society.

A good thing to remember, accept (we have no other choice if we are to be saved) and begin acting on and incorporating into our personal spiritual journeys toward true holiness is that God has ordered everything. Hear Calvin, Luther and Melanchthon on this:

"Calvin, the brilliant and systematic theologian of the Reformation, put the matter thus: 'Predestination we call the eternal decree of God , by which He has determined in Himself, what He would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is foreordained for some and eternal death for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say he is predestinated either to life or to death. (all emphases supplied)

That Luther was as zealous for absolute predestination as was Calvin is shown by his commentary on Romans, where he wrote: 'All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it; who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and who should be justified and who should be condemned.' (all emphases supplied) And Melanchthon, his close friend and fellow-laborer, says: 'All things turn out according to divine predestination; not only the works we do outwardly, but even the thoughts we think inwardly; and again, 'There is no such thing as chance, or fortune; nor is there a readier way to gain the fear of God, and to put our whole trust in Him, than to be thoroughly versed in the doctrine of Predestination.' (all emphases supplied)" (Boettner, Ibid., pp. 14-15.)


[inserted on September 18, 2012]

Dr. Peter Hammond, South African Evangelist, HOW THE NEW WORLD ORDER IS HIJACKING CIVILISATION, and see the related article immediately below:

RESISTING BABYLON AND THE BEAST


[inserted on September 11, 2012]

BELIEVE NOT EVERY SPIRIT!

BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6)


[inserted on September 9, 2012]

Pastor Photios:

QUAKERS WRONG ABOUT PERFECTION IN THIS WORLD:

Quaker Founder George Fox and Quakers since have never repudiated their belief that one can reach perfection (be without sin) during his time on earth (before death). Sinlessness in this life is not open to us!

Perfection is never complete in our lives on earth. Hear the two towering giants of the Reformation, Martin Luther and John Calvin on this issue, as quoted in the web site Christianity beta in HOW DID LUTHER AND CALVIN VIEW CHRISTIAN PERFECTIONISM? (August 24, 2012)

Martin Luther:

This life, then, is a life of being healed from sin, it is not a life of sinlessness, with the cure completed and perfect health attained. The church is the inn and the infirmary for those who are sick and in need of being made well. But heaven is the palace of the healthy and the righteous. As blessed Peter says in his Second Epistle 3:13 that the Lord will build “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” Righteousness does not yet dwell here, but it is preparing a dwelling place for itself here in the meantime by healing sin. All the saints have had this understanding of sin, as David prophesied in Ps. 32:5 ff. And thus they all have confessed that they were sinners. (Luther’s Works 25.262-264)

John Calvin:

How very abominable, then, is the pride of those who hardly imagine that they offend in the least possible way; nay, who even, like certain fanatics of the day, conceive that they have attained to a state of sinless perfection! (John Calvin, Commentary on Psalms 106:6)

Plus see these scriptural passages, which Luther quoted from St. Augustine's 29th Epistle to St. Jerome, again as cited on this site: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (I John 1:8); and,

There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins (I Kings 8:46).

Augustine reminds us that our love on earth is never 'full enough' to leave sin equaling zero. Love is always less than 100% what it should be. On earth, then, we will never attain a state of sinlessness. There is no state during our time on earth in which we are without sin.

George Fox believed he was a prophet, and, apparently, thought he was in a perfect state. After reading much about him, I have a deep admiration for his intense spirituality, constancy of purpose and willingness to suffer for his faith, but this doesn't necessarily make him doctrinally right. He can just as easily be considered in spiritual deception. Only Christ was perfect whilst on earth. We are not of His essence; perfection on earth is not open to us. God made us in His image, and we are to be 'like Him'. Our goal should be spiritual perfection during our time on earth before meeting our Maker in Heaven. This goal is not achievable, but we will come closer to it if it is our goal.

An excellent viewpoint comes from the most spiritual A.W. Pink, see this on the Internet CHRISTIAN PERFECTION . Pink points us to distinguishing among the somewhat different spiritual meanings of perfection. He agrees that being sinless in this life, legal perfection, is impossible:

Pink: We must discriminate between legal and evangelical perfection. Legal perfection is that complete and constant conformity in desire, thought, word and deed which God requires from us unto His holy and righteous law. This is the perfection which God demands from every creature—a full and flawless obedience, both internal and external, loving Him with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves; and this, not occasionally, but perpetually. This has been God's demand in every age, and it cannot be lowered. Cursed is everyone who continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them (Gal. 3:10), is the Divine sentence resting upon every transgressor. There must be a steady perseverance in doing those things which God has commanded, and in abstaining from all those things which He has prohibited. But no fallen human being can possibly meet that demand. As Romans 8:3 declares, For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh: an imperfect man cannot live perfectly; a sinful creature cannot yield sinless obedience.

Pr. Photios: Since we are sinful creatures, we cannot live sinlessly, perfectly. Yet, remember, this is the Divine standard. It cannot be lowered; contrast this to the rapidly declining standards of behaviour of secular society, the 'this world' that does the devil's evil deeds. However, God in His grace accepts evangelical perfection from His believers in lieu of absolute sinlessness:

Pink: Legal perfection is that sinless perfection which the Law demands from man: that absolute, undivided, continuous obedience, both inward and outward, to all its precepts. This strict and faultless obedience Christ rendered unto the Law in the stead of and on behalf of His people. Evangelical (emphasis supplied) perfection is that sincere desire of a renewed heart to please God in all things, a desire which is inseparably linked to an honest determination and effort to do so. True, that desire is never fully realized by any of us in this life; yet He who looks at and knows the heart, perceives its true and deep longings after Himself, and so, for Christ's sake, accepts the will for the deed (emphasis supplied).

Pr. Photios: Christian perfection, our absolute legal duty, is accomplished by a believer over one's lifetime.

MORE CALVIN - HAVING THE 'LAST WORD' ON THIS ISSUE:

It is the intolerable contrast between God’s absolute perfection and man’s fallenness that initiated Calvin’s religious quest. Like Augustine, he saw no instant perfection succeeding the event of conversion however “subita”28 (ed: subita = sudden, unexpected) it seemed; there is rather a growth into the Christian life to a perfection beyond death (emphasis supplied) — all the gracious gift of God in Christ. (Ford Lewis Battles, THE PIETY OF JOHN CALVIN, Introduction True Piety According to Calvin, see TRUE PIETY OF CALVIN )

Calvin himself in his Institutes, Book Three, Ch. Three:

[9.Rebirth in Christ! (1:600)

Therefore, in a word, I interpret repentance as regeneration, whose sole end is to restore in us the image of God that had been disfigured and all but obliterated through Adam’s transgression.…Accordingly, we are restored by this regeneration through the benefit of Christ into the righteousness of God.…And indeed, this restoration does not take place in one moment or one day or one year; but through continual and sometimes even slow advances God wipes out in his elect the corruptions of the flesh, cleanses them of guilt, consecrates them to himself as temples renewing all their minds to true purity that they may practice repentance throughout their lives and know that this warfare will end only at death (emphasis supplied). 3.3.9 (1:601)
(Believers experience sanctification, but not (emphasis supplied) sinless perfection in this life, 10-15:)

10. Believers are still sinners (1:602)

Augustine did not regard inordinate desires as sin unless they were acted upon. Calvin regards any desire against the law of God as sin. “Indeed, we label ‘sin’ that very depravity which begets in us desires of this sort.”

11. In believers sin has lost its dominion; but it still dwells in them (1:603)

God purges us of guilt, but not of the substance of sin (emphasis supplied).

12. What does “natural corruption” mean? (1:604)

Desires are sinful by being inordinate, not by being natural.

13. Augustine as witness to the sinfulness of believers (1:605)

14. Against the illusion of perfection (emphasis supplied) (1:606)

Certain Anabaptists of our day conjure up some sort of frenzied excess instead of spiritual regeneration. THE CHILDREN OF GOD, THEY ASSERT, RESTORED TO THE STATE OF INNOCENCE, NOW NEED NOT TAKE CARE TO BRIDLE THE LUST OF THE FLESH, BUT SHOULD RATHER FOLLOW THE SPIRIT AS THEIR GUIDE, UNDER WHOSE IMPULSION THEY CAN NEVER GO ASTRAY. It would be incredible that a man’s mind should fall into such madness, if they did not openly and haughtily blab this dogma of theirs. The thing is indeed monstrous! But it is fitting that those who have persuaded their minds to turn God’s truth into falsehood should suffer such punishments for their sacrilegious boldness. Shall all choice between dishonest and honest, righteous and unrighteous, good and evil, virtue and vice, be thus taken away? "Such difference arises," they say, "from the curse of old Adam, from which we have been freed through Christ." THEREFORE, THERE WILL NOW BE NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FORNICATION AND CHASTITY, INTEGRITY AND CUNNING, TRUTH AND FALSEHOOD, FAIR DEALING AND EXTORTION. "Take away," say the Anabaptists, "vain fear—the Spirit will command no evil of you if you but yield yourself, confidently and boldly, to his prompting." Who would not be astonished at these monstrosities? Yet it is a popular philosophy among those who are blinded by the madness of lusts and have put off common sense.

But what sort of Christ, I beseech you, do they devise for us? And what sort of Spirit do they belch forth? For we recognize one Christ and one Spirit of Christ, whom the prophets have commended, the gospel proclaims as revealed to us, and of whom we hear no such thing. THAT SPIRIT IS NO PATRON OF MURDER, FORNICATION, DRUNKENNESS, PRIDE, CONTENTION, AVARICE, OR FRAUD; BUT THE AUTHOR OF LOVE, MODESTY, SOBRIETY, MODERATION, PEACE, TEMPERANCE, TRUTH. THE SPIRIT IS NOT GIDDY-TO RUN HEADLONG, THOUGHTLESS, THROUGH RIGHT AND WRONG-BUT IS FULL OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING RIGHTLY TO DISCERN BETWEEN JUST AND UNJUST. THE SPIRIT DOES NOT STIR UP MAN TO DISSOLUTE AND UNBRIDLED LICENSE; BUT, ACCORDING AS IT DISTINGUISHES BETWEEN LAWFUL AND UNLAWFUL, IT TEACHES MAN TO KEEP MEASURE AND TEMPERANCE. Yet why should we spend more effort in refuting this brutish madness? For Christians the Spirit of the Lord is not a disturbing apparition, which they have either brought forth in a dream or have received as fashioned by others. Rather, they earnestly seek a knowledge of him from the Scriptures, where these two things are taught concerning him.

First, he has been given to us for sanctification in order that he may bring us, purged of uncleanness and defilement, into obedience to God’s righteousness. This obedience cannot stand except when the inordinate desires to which these men would slacken the reins have been tamed and subjugated. Second, we are purged by his sanctification in such a way that we are besieged by many vices and much weakness so long as we are encumbered with our body (emphasis supplied). Thus it comes about that, far removed from perfection (emphasis supplied), we must move steadily forward, and though entangled in vices, daily fight against them. From this it also follows that we must shake off sloth and carelessness, and watch with intent minds lest, unaware, we be overwhelmed by the stratagems of our flesh. Unless, perchance, we are confident that we have made greater progress than the apostle, who was still harassed by an angel of Satan ‘whereby his power was made perfect in weakness’, and who in his own flesh unfeignedly represented that division between flesh and spirit” (emphasis added in capitals were originally underlined - emphases supplied in italics inserted by Pastor Photios). 3.3.14 (1:606-607)

15. Repentance according to II Cor. 7:11 (1:607)

Repentance includes earnestness of carefulness, excuse, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, and avenging.

Bernard: “Sorrow for sins is necessary if it be not unremitting. I beg you to turn your steps back sometimes from troubled and anxious remembering of your ways, and to go forth to the tableland of serene remembrance of God’s benefits. Let us mingle honey with wormwood that its wholesome bitterness may bring health when it is drunk tempered with sweetness. If you take thought upon yourselves in your humility, take thought likewise upon the Lord in his goodness.”

(The fruits of repentance: holiness of life, confession and remission of sins; repentance is lifelong (emphasis supplied), 16-20)]

Pr. Photios: Enough said. A useful motto for you and me to go by is :

If in doubt, first, Scripture, then Calvin, should be checked out!


[inserted on September 5, 2012]

WHAT ABOUT THIS SCRIPTURE DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom. 8:30).


[inserted on September 3, 2012]

QUOTATIONS FROM THE QUAKER WILLIAM PENN'S NO CROSS, NO CROWN , Chapter II (with subsequent comments by Pastor Photios):

SECT. 3. But thou wilt say, what is Christ, and where is He to be found? And how received and applied in order to this mighty cure? I tell thee then: first, He is the great spiritual light of the world, that enlightens every one that comes into the world; by which He manifests to them their deeds of darkness and wickedness, and reproves them for committing them. Secondly, He is not far away from thee, as the apostle Paul said of God to the Athenians: behold (says Christ Himself) "I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with Me." What door can this be but that of the heart (emphasis supplied) of man?

SECT. 4. ...

So I say to thee, unless thou believest, that He that stands at the door of thy heart and knocks, and sets thy sins in order before thee, and calls thee to repentance, be the Saviour of the world, thou wilt die in thy sins , and where He is gone, thou wilt never come. For if thou believest not in Him, it is impossible that He should do thee good, or effect thy salvation: Christ works not against faith but by it. It is said of old, He did not many mighty works in some places, because the people believed not in Him. So that if thou truly believest in Him, thine ear will be attentive to His voice in thee, and the door of thine heart open to His knocks. Thou wilt yield to the discoveries of His light, and the teachings of His grace will be very dear to thee. (all emphases supplied)

SECT. 8....

But how comes it, that from a Christendom that was thus meek, merciful, self-denying, suffering, temperate, holy, just, and good, so like to Christ, whose name she bore, we find a Christendom now that is superstitious, idolatrous, persecuting, proud, passionate, envious, malicious,selfish, drunken, lascivious, unclean, lying, swearing, cursing, covetous, oppressing, defrauding, with all other abominations known in the earth, and that to an excess justly scandalous to the worst of heathen ages, surpassing them more in evil than in time; I say, how comes this lamentable defection?

I lay this down, as the undoubted degeneracy, to wit, the inward disregard of thy mind to the light of Christ shining in thee that first shewed thee thy sins, and reproved them, and that taught and enabled thee to deny and resist them. For as thy fear towards God, and holy abstinence from unrighteousness was, at first, not taught by the precepts of men , but by that light and grace, which revealed the most secret thoughts and purposes of thine heart, and searched the most inward part of thy belly, setting thy sins in order before thee, and reproving thee for them, not suffering one unfruitful thought, word or work of darkness, to go unjudged, so when thou didst begin to disregard that light and grace, to be careless about that holy watch, that was once set up in thine heart, and didst not keep sentinel there, as formerly, for God's glory and thy own peace; the restless enemy of man's good quickly took advantage of this slackness, and often surprised thee with temptations, whose suitableness to thy inclinations made his conquest over thee not difficult.

In short, thou didst omit to take up Christ's holy yoke, to bear thy daily cross; thou wast careless of thy affections, and kept no journal or check upon thy actions; but didst decline to audit accounts, in thy own conscience, with Christ thy light, the great bishop of thy soul, and judge of thy works, whereby the holy fear decayed, and love waxed cold; vanity abounded, and duty became burdensome. Then up came formality instead of the power of Godliness; superstition, in place of Christ's institution; and whereas Christ's business was, to draw off the minds of His disciples from an outward temple, and carnal rites and services, to the inward and spiritual worship of God, suitable to the nature of divinity, a worldly, human, pompous worship is brought in again, and a worldly priesthood, temple and altar re-established.... True, there still remained the exterior forms of worship, and a nominal and oral reverence to God and Christ; but that was all: for the offence of the holy cross ceased, the power of Godliness was denied, self-denial lost; and though fruitful in the invention of ceremonious ornaments, yet barren in the blessed fruits of the Spirit. And a thousand shells cannot make one kernal, or many dead corpses one living man. (all emphases supplied)

Comments by Pastor Photios:

William Penn (1644-1718) was an outstanding Quaker, founded the colony of Pennsylvania, stood up for religious liberty and freedom and can be compared in that regard to the founder of Rhode Island, Roger Williams. George Fox founded the Quakers, aka Religious Society of Friends. George's history is one of remarkable constancy in the face of ruthless persecution and many many jailings. William Penn also suffered imprisonment for his beliefs, as did thousands of other Friends. Like Fox, he never shirked from his spiritual witness.

Penn wrote his classic NO CROSS, NO CROWN at 24 years of age when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London during 1668-1669. (See an interesting biography by Jim Powell entitled WILLIAM PENN, AMERICA'S FIRST GREAT CHAMPION FOR LIBERTY AND PEACE ) Penn treated the Indians with respect, negotiated and paid them when transacting business, learned Indian dialects so he could negotiate without an interpreter and concluded a treaty with an Indian tribe without the ratification by oath, which was never infringed! Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, alhough not a Quaker, was a champion of religious toleration/separation of church and state. A good case could be made that Penn and Williams were America's greatest 'real Americans'!

[Read his NO CROSS, NO CROWN ]


[inserted on September 1, 2012]

Comment by Pastor Photios:
- a must read!

Dr. Ian R. K. Paisley, well known Northern Ireland preacher, CULT OF MARY - PART ONE (6/25/2002) and PART TWO:

CULT OF MARY - PART TWO (7/16/2002)


[inserted on September 1, 2012]

Johann Arndt (1555-1621), WHAT TRUE FAITH IS


[inserted on August 30, 2012]

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO 'STAND UP' FOR JESUS?

Christ said to His disciples Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. (Luke 12:8-9)

Commentary by Puritan Matthew Henry (1662-1714):

"You will be owned or disowned by Christ, in the great day, according as you now own or disown him," Luke 12:8,9. [1.] To engage us to confess Christ before men, whatever we may lose or suffer for our constancy to him, and how dear soever it may cost us, we are assured that they who confess Christ now shall be owned by him in the great day before the angels of God, to their everlasting comfort and honour. Jesus Christ will confess, not only that he suffered for them, and that they are to have the benefit of his sufferings, but that they suffered for him, and that his kingdom and interest on earth were advanced by their sufferings; and what greater honour can be done them? [2.] To deter us from denying Christ, and a cowardly deserting of his truths and ways, we are here assured that those who deny Christ, and treacherously depart from him, whatever they may save by it, though it were life itself, and whatever they may gain by it, though it were a kingdom, will be vast losers at last, for they shall be denied before the angels of God; Christ will not know them, will not own them, will not show them any favour, which will turn to their everlasting terror and contempt. By the stress here laid upon their being confessed or denied before the angels of God, it should seem to be a considerable part of the happiness of glorified saints that they will not only stand right, but stand high, in the esteem of the holy angels; they will love them, and honour them, and own them, if they be Christ's servants; they are their fellow-servants, and they will take them for their companions. On the contrary, a considerable part of the misery of damned sinners will be that the holy angels will abandon them, and will be the pleased witnesses, not only of their disgrace, as here, but of their misery, for they shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels (Revelation 14:10), who will give them no relief.

BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF MATTHEW HENRY


[inserted on August 26, 2012]

Pastor Photios TRUE CHRISTIANS ARE UNIFIED!


[inserted on August 21, 2012]

AMISH GRACE & MARTYRDOM:

He said, "I'm angry at God and I need to punish some Christian girls to get even with Him."... He then turned to the girls: "I'm going to make you pay for my daughter." One of two thirteen-year-olds in the room quickly assumed leadership of the younger girls, doing everything she could to help them. Realizing he planned to kill them, she said, "Shoot me first," hoping to save the others and fulfilling her duty to watch over the little ones in her care. [She died there that day as well as four others.]

The massacre at Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, October 2006, see the book Amish Grace by Kraybill, Nolt, Weaver-Zercher, John Wiley & Sons, 2007, pp. 25-27.


Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), one of the greatest preachers the world has ever known delivers a stirring sermon in 1858 at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens, London PARTICULAR REDEMPTION

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)


[inserted on August 16, 2012]

THE 'WORLD' IS GOD'S ENEMY:

St. James the Just of Jerusalem

Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (James 4:4).


[inserted on August 15, 2012]

Comment by Pastor Photios:

It would be hard to beat the following works on the very spiritual Gospel of John, by one of the greatest preachers who ever lived, John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople (plus, as a spiritual bonus, his homilies on Hebrews) followed by the great Calvin's Commentary on John in two volumes. Good reading!

ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM*: HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN AND THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS

Also read John Calvin's (1509-1564) COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN , Volume 1, John 1-11 and Volume 2, 12-21

*John Chrysostom (347-407)


[inserted on August 14, 2012]

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE A TRUE CHRISTIAN:

The pagan world never hated the Christian as much as the "Christian" world does today. Formal tolerance is deceptive. The world tolerates only those so-called Christians who walk in step with it, those who try to apply a social Christianity and attempt to be always up-to-date. The others who do not agree to adulterate their Faith it hates. But the world's hate is a criterion for us to know if we are true Christians. "If they have hated ME, they shall hate you too." (all emphases supplied)

Dr. Alexandre Kalomiros (b.1931, deceased), Greek Orthodox Lay Theologian, AGAINST FALSE UNION, St. Nectarios Press, Seattle, WA, first published in 1967, Second Edition, 1978, Chapter Two, XXVII. The Difficult Way, p. 52


[inserted on August 14, 2012]

A SIN UNTO DEATH:

The fact is that it is incumbent upon everyone to observe the letter of all that is common to all, and above all, the points touching the Faith, where to deviate a little is to commit a sin unto death (all emphases supplied).

St. Photios the Great (c.820-891), Patriarch of Constantinople, writing to Nicholas, Bishop of Rome, cited in THE RUDDER (PEDALION), translation of D. Cummings, fn, pp. 775-776


[inserted on August 14, 2012]

A GREAT SAINT ON THE 'LATINS':

We have cut the Latins off from us for no other reason than that they are not only schismatics but also heretics (emphasis supplied). For this reason it is wholly improper to unite with them.

St. Mark of Ephesus (1392-1444)


[inserted on August 13, 2012]

South African Evangelist Andrew Murray (1828-1917) on KEEPING CHRIST'S COMMANDMENTS:

In Jesus' farewell address to His disciples, He emphasized the importance of keeping His commandments.

If you love Me, keep My commandments. And...He will give you another Helper (John 14:15-16).

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he...will be loved by My Father (v. 21).

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him (v. 23).

If you abide in Me, and MY words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you (John 15:7).

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love (v. 10).

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you (v. 14).

Study and compare these passages, until the words enter your heart and work the deep conviction that keeping Christ's commandments is the essential (emphasis supplied) condition of all spiritual blessing. It is necessary for the coming of the Holy Spirit and His actual indwelling, for the enjoyment of the Father's love, and for the manifestation of Christ in our lives.

Power in prayer, the abiding in Christ's love, and the enjoyment of His friendship depend on the keeping of the commandments. The power to claim and enjoy these blessings in faith day by day also requires obedience. The will of God, delighted in and done, is the only way to the heart of the Father and His only way to our hearts. Keep the commandments-this is the way to every blessing.

Andrew Murray, THE PRACTICE OF GOD'S PRESENCE: 7-IN-1 ANTHOLOGY , New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House (2000), Book Six: Daily Experience with God, pp. 429-430


[inserted on August 10, 2012]

GOOD ADVICE FROM GEORGE FOX, FOUNDER OF THE QUAKERS:

"In an early epistle written in 1652 he advised his followers to 'mind the light of God in you and submit to the Lord to be guided by him; lay aside all light words and feigned speeches, hypocrisy and deceit, and love not the world nor the things of the world, for the lord of the world is an enemy to God.'"

Quoted in H. Larry Ingle, FIRST AMONG FRIENDS: GEORGE FOX AND THE CREATION OF QUAKERISM
Oxford University Press, Inc., New York, New York, 1996, p. 109 of (Google eBook)


[inserted on August 2, 2012]

Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001), Romanian Christian hero, RICHARD WURMBRAND AND HIS LETTER


J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), Bishop of Liverpool,

AN EXCERPT FROM HIS 'IDOLATRY'

Does it surprise us when we read in history how idolatry crept in by degrees into the Church of Christ,—how little by little it thrust out Gospel truth, until, in Canterbury, men offered more at the shrine of Thomas a Becket than they did at that of the Virgin Mary, and more at that of the Virgin Mary than at that of Christ? Let us cease to be surprised. It is all intelligible. There is a cause.

Does it surprise us when we hear of men going over from Protestant Churches to the Church of Rome, in the present day? Do we think it unaccountable, and feel as if we ourselves could never forsake a pure form of worship for one like that of the Pope? Let us cease to be surprised. There is a solution for the problem. There is a cause.

That cause is nothing else but the deep corruption of man’s heart. There is a natural proneness and tendency in us all to give God a sensual, carnal worship, and not that which is commanded in His Word. We are ever ready, by reason of our sloth and unbelief, to devise visible helps and stepping stones in our approaches to Him, and ultimately to give these inventions of our own the honour due to Him. In fact, idolatry is all natural, downhill, easy, like the broad way. Spiritual worship is all grace, all uphill, and all against the grain. Any worship whatsoever is more pleasing to the natural heart, than worshipping God in the way which our Lord Christ describes, “in spirit and in truth.” (John iv. 23.)

I, for one, am not surprised at the quantity of idolatry existing, both in the world and in the visible Church. I believe it perfectly possible that we may yet live to see far more of it than some have ever dreamed of. It would never surprise me if some mighty personal Antichrist were to arise before the end,— mighty in intellect, mighty in talents for government, aye, and mighty, perhaps, in miraculous gifts too. It would never surprise me to see such an one as him setting up himself in opposition to Christ, and forming an infidel conspiracy and combination against the Gospel. I believe that many would rejoice to do him honour, who now glory in saying, “We will not have this Christ to reign over us.” I believe that many would make a god of him, and reverence him as an incarnation of truth, and concentrate their idea of hero-worship on his person. I advance it as a possibility, and no more. But of this at least I am certain,—that no man is less safe from danger of idolatry than the man who now sneers at every form of religion; and that from infidelity to credulity, from atheism to the grossest idolatry, there is but a single step. Let us not think, at all events, that idolatry is an old-fashioned sin, into which we are never likely to fall. “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” We shall do well to look into our own hearts: the seeds of idolatry are all there. We should remember the words of St. Paul: “Flee from idolatry.”

[inserted on July 30, 2012]


Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Jewish Founder and Director, Ariel Ministries, JESUS WAS A JEW

Comment by Pastor Photios to the world's contemporary Jewish people: Come to Christ, who loves you. Come now.

[inserted on July 28, 2012]


Dr. Peter Hammond, South African evangelist on FAITH AND FIREARMS
very topical considering the massacre at Aurora, Colorado

[inserted on July 26, 2012]


Prof. David Engelsma (Emeritus), Protestant Reformed Seminary, Grandville, MI THE REFORMED WORLDVIEW ON BEHALF OF A GODLY CULTURE

[inserted on July 24, 2012]


PRAY FOR THE FALLEN, INJURED AND THE PARENTS AND FRIENDS OF ALL THE VICTIMS AT THE AURORA, COLORADO MOVIE MASSACRE

Comments by Pastor Photios:

The world is still in shock over the merciless planned execution of at least 12 midnight Batman moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado. Please pray for all the fallen (12), injured (58) and parents and friends of the victims. Pray also for our country and ask the Lord to bring a nationwide spiritual revival to save us from the madness that is fast becoming and overtaking America. Our freedom seems to be boomeranging on us. Freedom has given way to license; paganism is rife with 'esteem' for witches and vampires and other demonic types apparently exceeding by a mile our love for our Creator. Jesus is being drummed out of not only our schools but society itself. We Christians must prepare ourselves for the coming, probably, imminent, persecutions(s). We will be persecuted by the very secular society we have created.

Respect and duty appear to be values that are disdained to a significant degree by modern youth; and our media, including weirdo Hollywood, seem to be enemies of all that is good and decent. Political correctness continues to eat away and do its part in the destruction of the good American life that we last experienced in the 1950s. Most thinking people should be able to see that America is in very serious moral decline overall. We must take back all that made America the beacon of real liberty. Christ is the only answer. Pray for the Lord to deliver us through His power. He can do it: He is all powerful.

In the instant case, the killer was dressed somewhat similar to a SWAT team member, and some news reports indicate he referred to himself as the Joker, an apparent nod to a former Batman movie villain. Please note this trend. More and more, it is the evil person that our youth are emulating. Where, indeed, have our heroes gone? As Americans, we must ask ourselves this question and the corollary one, "Why?"

The perpetrator deserves whatever secular judicial punishment he will receive. But what of this man's soul? Is he irredeemably lost due to his heinous act? Please read this letter from a wonderful Christian pastor, Dr. Francis Nigel Lee (1934-2011) following the brutal murder of his father in South Africa and consider Holy Scripture and Christ's words before answering the question in your heart.

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN THE SALVATION OF MY FATHER'S SLAYER:

by Rev. Dr. Francis Nigel Lee

(posted on the web site of THE REFORMATION CHURCH TX Boerne - San Antonio area on December 25, 2011, two days after Dr. Lee's repose)

In April 1994, I was invited to fly round the world and expound the Lord’s Prayer in the U. S. A. during September. Having acquired the plane ticket, as an only child I was much looking forward to visiting my parents in Barrydale (near Swellendam in South Africa) on my way from Australia to America.

However, in July 1994, my father (almost 86) was robbed and left for dead in his home. My mother (having lost her mind and the use of some of her bodily functions) was permanently hospitalised. One week after being assaulted, my father died in hospital and went to be with the Lord.

Upon my arrival in South Africa in September, I headed for Swellendam (where my mother is still in hospital). There, I was amazed that the police had apprehended a young man in connection with the death of my father, and that the young man had signed a statement alleging that he alone had attacked my father. I also learned that my father, before dying, had given a description to the police of the young man (which description is altogether in harmony with the appearance of the accused) and that the latter was being held in jail precisely in Swellendam, while awaiting his preliminary trial just one week after my own arrival there.

I immediately contacted the jail, requesting permission to come and speak to the accused (of whom it is alleged that he had killed also someone else even before attacking my father). The police warmly supported my request, but informed me the accused had the right to refuse to see me. He, however, being told who I was, agreed and even requested to meet with me.

On the 15th of September I went to the jail, where I was told to surrender my camera and tape-recorder and any firearms I may have been carrying. I was escorted to a room where three armed policemen and their officer were doing clerical work. One minute later, the accused was brought through the door into the room and stood there in front of me.

He was a strongly-built medium-sized man, answering exactly to the description given by my father to the police. He stood there, just looking down at the ground. I silently prayed to God for guidance as to what to do next. Then I got up from my chair; addressed him politely by his full name; greeted him with a handshake; thanked him sincerely for granting me the interview; and requesting him to sit down before I again did so.

I then said: “Mr. W., are you getting enough to eat here?” He replied: “Yes, thank you.” I said: “Have you peace of mind here?” He replied: “Sir, I am very unhappy. I have been praying to God in my cell for the last three nights, but it’s as if my prayers bounce back off the ceiling and don’t get through.”

I then said: “Mr. W., I am the only child of the old man who was left for dead behind the front door of his house in Barrydale on the 10th of July whom you are accused of having assaulted. I had been looking forward to spending a week with him in September, but as you can see this is now impossible.” The young man nodded; looked down; and said nothing.

I then continued: “Mr. W., my father was not a Christian many years ago, but there came a time in his life when he turned from his sins and received Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. That is why he is now in heaven, and waiting for me to join him.

“I assure you Mr. W., that if you make your peace with God — whether you die right now of a heart attack; or are to be put to death for murder; or die naturally later on — you too will go to heaven. I also assure you that my father, whom you are accused of having murdered, will then be the first to welcome you there. However, Mr. W., if you do not repent and if you die in your sins, I assure you that you will spend eternity in hell-fire and damnation forever!

“Mr. W., whether you repent and become a Christian, or you harden yourself and die in your sins, know for sure that if found guilty by the court I would want you to receive the maximum penalty.

“I will plead no leniency whatsoever for you, even if you become a Christian, but I am offering you everlasting life in heaven after you die, if you will repent and come to Jesus.

“Mr. W., three men died on a little hill called Calvary. Two were guilty robbers; but the One in the middle, the Lord Jesus, was innocent. Robbers, as you know, include those who go around beating up old people and leaving them for dead after stealing from them. Both of those robbers jeered at the innocent Jesus crucified between them.

“But then one of the robbers repented, turned to the other, and said: ‘We are being condemned justly. For we are receiving the punishment due, for our deeds. But this man (Jesus) has done nothing amiss!’ Then the penitent robber said to Jesus: ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!’ So Jesus said: ‘Truly, I tell you, today you shall be with me in paradise!’

“Mr. W., do you not see yourself as one of those two robbers next to Jesus on Calvary? Will you die in your sins and go to hell like the impenitent robber? Or will you, like the other robber, repent of your sins; receive Jesus as your Lord; and be assured by Him that you will go to heaven when you die?

“Mr. W., if you wish, I will leave this jail right now. But if you prefer, I would be privileged to show you right now how you too can become a Christian. Which is it to be?”

Mr. W. then tried to look in my eye. He said: “Sir, would you please show me how to become a Christian?” I then realised that the four policemen in the room had all put down their pens; had stopped working; and were straining their ears, listening to us. So I said: “Officer, could you kindly get us a Bible?”

The officer went galloping out of the room, and immediately returned with a Bible and put it on my lap with great respect. I opened it at John 3:16*, and asked Mr. W. if he could read. When he so indicated, I handed him the Bible, and asked him to read it. Loudly and clearly, he read it out, and then said: “I am too big a sinner!” But I replied: “Mr. W., it says here: ‘whosoever’; and that includes you too, if and when you put your trust in Jesus.”

The atmosphere was electric. All in that room felt the awesome presence of God the Holy Ghost. The silence was terrifying. Then I said: “Mr. W., will you come to Jesus?” He replied: “I will!”

So, two wicked hell-deserving sinners Rev. Prof. Dr. Nigel Lee and his father’s slayer Mr. W., then went down on their knees in that jail together. I put my arm around his shoulder, and prayed first. I thanked God for our meeting; (re)confessed all my own fresh sins to the Lord; and then asked Him to have mercy on Mr. W., for Christ’s sake.

Mr. W. then prayed. He said: “Lord, I’m a miserable sinner! Please don’t let Satan destroy me! I am sorry for all my sins. Forgive me, for the sake of Jesus who died for people like me!”

We then got off our knees. I assured him: “Mr. W., if you really meant that, you are now my brother. In that case, here is my right hand of fellowship. I will help you in any way I can. Here is my address in Australia. If you write to me, I promise to reply to every letter you may write, for the rest of my life. When is your trial?”

He replied: “Thursday 22nd September.” I promised to pray for him on that day (when I would be overseas), that justice would be done and that he would continue to receive God’s grace whatever the outcome. I then again shook his hand and left the jail to the astonishment of both the grateful police and the bewildered convicts there who just kept on staring at me in amazement.

Driving back to Barrydale, I praised God and sang His Psalms the whole time — realizing anew that God is not dead but very much alive on this great planet earth. For God had revived my soul — and, I trust, those of all in that room in the jail.

Four days later, I visited the jail again. This time Mr. W. was waiting for me with a smile. He had been reading the Bible since I last saw him, and claimed to have peace. I urged him to speak to the other prisoners about what had happened to him; to tell the full truth at his trial.

I also urged him to work and witness for the Lord for the rest of his earthly life (be it short or long). He then prayed for both of us; thanked God for my visits; and boldly asked the Lord to bless me wherever I went (that same day to England, and thereafter to America).

God heard his prayer. In London, the Lord spoke powerfully even through my there relating the above events. In America, the effect was electrifying, and the tape-recording of my account is spreading like wildfire and producing awesome enquires and results. I used it there, as an illustration, while preaching on the fifth petition in the Lord’s Prayer: “And forgive men their debts, as we forgive our debtors!”

My fellow sinner, how stands it with your soul? Are you certain you are right with God for time and eternity? For Jesus assures us: “If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses!”

O that God would melt the heavens and come down, and touch and revive His hard-nosed children here on earth! Do you have the certainty that all your sins have been forgiven, for Christ’s sake? If not, settle this matter forthwith!

Sincerely in the Lord’s service, from a sinner saved by grace

(Rev. Prof. Dr.) F. N. Lee (d. December 23, 2011),

Queensland Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Ret.

Brisbane, Australia.

THE WORKS OF DR. LEE

* John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV)

[inserted on July 22, 2012]


Pastor Photios WE DON’T NEED TO IMPRESS ‘OTHERS’; HUMILITY IS THE KEY TO SALVATION

[inserted on July 12, 2012]


Dr. Peter Hammond, South African Evangelist to the spiritual frontlines, WILL ANIMALS BE IN HEAVEN?

[inserted on July 1, 2012]


REFORMERS, INCLUDING THE GREAT CALVIN, SPEAK ON THE PAPACY!

(1) All reformers agreed that the papacy was the antichrist:

See this quote "Every Reformer, without exception, spoke of the papacy as Antichrist" -R. Allen Anderson, Unfolding the Revelation, p.137, from this site They Called Him... ANTICHRIST - Have your forefathers spoken?
(Also see the extensive list of reformers holding the view that the papacy is the Antichrist.)

[Pastor Photios' comment: Although the papacy does not today appear to engage in violence (such as beheadings/burnings, etc., perhaps because it knows it can't get away with it with impunity as it used to do?), its heresies are even more in 2012 than in Luther's times. Yet, some current evangelicals and other misguided souls, including some in the Orthodox Christian Church and thousands in the so-called 'conservative' Anglican groupings who have 'crossed the Tiber' to join modern Rome, are busy playing 'footsy' with the primary heretic of recorded history! Shame, shame on such folk.]

[inserted on July 1, 2012]

(2) Rev. J.A. Wylie, LL.D. (1808-1890) author of "History of Protestantism" and "History of the Scottish Nation," after surveying/analysing the evidence, concluded in his Preface:

The following demonstration is rested on no narrow basis. Its two postulates, like two posterns, admit us into the edifice, but they are not its foundations. The whole economy of Redemption, and the whole course of History are the broad substructions on which the argument is based and built up; and the author humbly submits that it cannot be overturned, or the conclusion arrived at set aside, without dislocating and shaking the structure of both Revelation and providence. The same line of proof which establishes that Christ is the promised Messiah, conversely applied, establishes that the Roman system is the predicted Apostacy. In the life of Christ we behold the converse of what the Antichrist must be; and in the prophecy of the Antichrist we are shown the converse of what Christ must be, and was. And when we place the Papacy between the two, and compare it with each, we find, on the one hand, that it is the perfect converse of Christ as seen in His life; and, on the other, that it is the perfect image of the Antichrist, as shown in the prophecy of him. We conclude, therefore, that if Jesus of Nazareth be the Christ, the Roman Papacy is the Antichrist.

Please read his THE PAPACY IS THE ANTICHRIST: A DEMONSTRATION (1888)

This book is so highly regarded that some consider it impossible to improve upon. Here is what the Rev. Dr. Ian R.K. Paisley states about it in his Introduction to his site's section, Errors of Rome, Pope: Antichrist: The Pope is the Antichrist

Exactly one hundred years ago Dr. J. A. Wylie, author of the famous 'History of Protestantism' (3 Volumes) published a small book of 168 pages entitled, 'The Papacy is the Antichrist.'

The Rev. James Aitken Wylie was for many years a leading Protestant spokesman. Born in Scotland in 1808, he was educated at Marischal College, Aberdeen and at St. Andrews; he entered the Original Secession Divinity Hall, Edinburgh in 1827, and was ordained in 1831. Dr. Wylie became sub-editor of the Edinburgh Witness in 1846, and, after joining the Free Church of Scotland in 1852, edited the Free Church Record from 1852 until 1860. In 1860 he was appointed Lecturer on Popery at the Protestant Institute, a position he held until the year of his death. Aberdeen University awarded him the LL.D. in 1856.

Dr. Wylie was a prolific writer on Protestant themes. In 1851 the Evangelical Alliance awarded him first prize for his writing 'The Papacy' which he submitted as his entry for a competition for the best essay on Popery.

I have simply made a precis of his excellent work, 'The Papacy is Antichrist,' because its demonstration cannot be surpassed. I have also added some additional material.

IAN R. K. PAISLEY

http://www.ianpaisley.org

Email: eips_info@yahoo.co.uk

[inserted on July 1, 2012]

(3) Rev. Prof. Dr. Francis Nigel Lee (1934-2011),
Caldwell-Morrow Lecturer in Church History at the Queensland Presbyterian Theological College, Brisbane, Australia, 2000 CALVIN ON THE PAPACY
(a short excerpt highlighting just the Ten Commandments transgressions of the Antichrist Papacy)

Calvin’s Condemnations of the Romish Papacy in his Decalogical Sermons on Deuteronomy

In a sermon on Deuteronomy 5:4-7, Calvin remarks on God’s First Commandment requiring that God alone be worshipped: “We see the horrible confusion that is in Popery: but yet, there is not any doctrine to pluck men back to God. Nay, rather, that doctrine which is there -- draws them quite and clean [away] from Him. And we see that the Devil has gotten such footing there -- that all is full of trumpery and illusions, and the living God is quite forsaken.”13

The Pope’s transgressions of God’s Second Commandment, are obvious. For his backslidden communion is notorious for its employment of images in worship, and also for the ugly idolatry of transubstantiation.

God’s Fifth Commandment requires men to honour their superiors [including God as the Superior of all superiors]. Preaching on Deuteronomy 5:16, John Calvin remarks:14 “We perceive the more plainly how much we ought to abhor the cursed Popedom. For it is an overstateliness crept up in the World, to none other end than to drive God out of His seat and to bereave Him of the honour that belongs to Him.

“For the Pope will grant well enough that he ought to be subject to his Superiors [viz. God the Father, Son and Spirit]. But what, though? Does he keep any order, either of God or of nature? No! But contrarywise, his meaning is to despise all that is contained in the Holy Scripture -- overthrowing all the order and policy that God has commanded us.

“He terms himself Christ’s Vicar [or earthly Representative]. But yet, notwithstanding [that] -- the World keeps on seeing that he has thrust Jesus Christ out of His seat, so that He is no more the Head of [the deformed and Roman Catholic part of] His Church.... This hellish Popedom...has no foundation at all!”

Preaching on Deuteronomy 5:18 re God’s Seventh Commandment against adultery, John Calvin remarks that the “apostate or backsliding Church of Rome is the very seat of Antichrist.”15 For she is essentially a spiritual whore.

Indeed, in a sermon on Deuteronomy 5:21 re God’s Tenth Commandment against covetousness,16 Dr. John Calvin insists: “It was requisite that God should uncover the shame of the Popedom -- and show that the greatest clerics there, are duller witted than the silly infidels that neither heard one word of Holy Scripture. Why so? For we must take that which is written – in the Law!”

Finally, Dr. John Calvin sums all of this up in a sermon on Deuteronomy 6:1-4, re all ten of the Commandments. There, he boldly asks: “Were there ever any superstitions more gross and more outrageous, than are to be seen nowadays in the Popedom?”17

Read Dr. Lee's CALVIN ON THE PAPACY

[inserted on July 1, 2012]


EXAMPLE OF THE EVIL OF WAR:
THE BRITISH: MURDERERS OF 25,000 TO 26,000 WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN THEIR CONCENTRATION CAMPS DURING THE BOER WAR (1899-1902). SEE THE ACCOUNT BELOW:

For it was, alas the women and chidren upon whom the brunt of the war fell. During the latter stages of the conflict, the British commander-in-chief directed that the women and chidren should be removed from the farms and smaller townships, and be brought together in so-called " concentration camps," where (it was affirmed) they could be properly cared for, and yet be prevented from holding communication with the Boers who still kept the field. The intention may have been good, but it was carried out in a hopelessly incompetent manner. [Ed: from Pastor Photios - the intention was clearly 'not good' - see the horrifying description below by Hennie Barnard in his THE CONCENTRATION CAMPS 1899-1902*] Sickly women and children of tender years were housed in canvas tents, and exposed to heat and blinding dust by day and to biting cold at nights. Rationing was irregular and often insufficient; overcrowding was the rule; sanitary arrangements were sadly defective: of comfort and decency there was little to be seen. When sickness broke out, it was discovered that there were few doctors or none at all, and no trained nurses, no medicines and comforts, no hospital accommodation. Measles and other infectious diseases laid hold upon the crowded camps and carried off thousands. Enteric claimed its victims by the hundreds. Day after day funeral cortages wended their tearful way to the little cemetery-a space railed off in a corner of the camp by barbed-wire fencing. Before the concentration camps were broken up, more than twenty-five thousand women and children had died... (emphasis supplied)
J. Du Plessis' (1919), ANDREW MURRAY, pp. 429-430.

*3.3. Planning for death

The English claim of decent actions towards the Boer women and children are further contradicted by the location of the concentration camps. The military authorities, who often had to plan and erect camps for their soldiers, would certainly have been well aware of the essential requirements for such camps. Yet the concentration camps were established in the most unsuitable locations possible.
At Standerton the camp was erected on both banks of the Vaal River. It was on the Highveld, which ensured that it was extremely cold in winter and infested with mosquitoes in summer. The fact that Standerton had turf soil and a high rainfall, ensured that the camp was one big mud bath in summer, even inside the tents.
The same circumstances were experienced in camps such as Brandfort, Springfontein and Orange River. At Pretoria, the Irene Camp was located at the chilly southern side of the town, while the northern side had a much more favourable climate. Balmoral, Middelburg and other camps were also located on the south-eastern hangs of the hills to ensure that the inhabitants were exposed to the icy south easterly winds.
Merebank camp was located in a swamp where there was an abundance of various kinds of insects. Water oozed out of the ground, ensuring that everything was constantly wet and slimy.
By October 1900 there were already 58 883 people in concentration camps in Transvaal and 45 306 in the Free State.
The amenities in the camps were clearly planned to kill as many of the women and children as possible (emphasis supplied). They were accommodated in tattered reject tents which offered no protection against the elements.
Emily Hobhouse, the Cornish lady who campaigned for better conditions for the Boer women, wrote: "Throughout the night there was a downpour. Puddles of water were everywhere. They tried to get themselves and their possessions dry on the soaked ground."
(Hobhouse: Brunt of the War, page 169.)
Dr Kendal Franks reports on the Irene Camp: "In one of the tents there were three families; parents and children, a total of 14 people and all were suffering from measles."
In Springfontein camp, 19 to 20 people were crammed into one tent.
There were neither beds nor mattresses and nearly the whole camp population had to sleep on the bare ground, which was damp most of the time.
One person wrote the following plea for aid to the New York Herald: "In the name of small children who have to sleep in open tents without fire, with barely any clothes, I plea for help."
3.4. Let them die of hunger

According to a British journalist, WT Stead, the concentration camps were nothing more than a cruel torture machine. He writes: "Every one of these children who died as a result of the halving of their rations, thereby exerting pressure onto their family still on the battle-field, was purposefully murdered. The system of half rations stands exposed and stark and unshamefully as a cold-blooded deed of state policy employed with the purpose of ensuring the surrender of people whom we were not able to defeat on the battlefield." (emphasis supplied)
The detainees received no fruit or vegetables; not even milk for the babies.
The meat and flour issued were crawling with maggots. Emily Hobhouse writes: "I have in my possession coffee and sugar which were described as follows by a London analyst: In the case of the first, 66% imitation, and in the case of the second, sweepings from a warehouse."
In her book, Met die Boere in die Veld (With the Boers in the field), Sara Raal states that "there were poisonous sulphate of copper, grounded glass, fishhooks, and razor blades in the rations." The evidence given on this fact is so overwhelming that it must be regarded as a historical fact.
3.5. No hygiene

The outbreak of disease and epidemics in the camps were further promoted by, inter alia, the lack of sanitary conveniences. Bloemfontein camp had only 13 toilets for more than 3 500 people. Aliwal North camp had one toilet for every 170 people.
A British physician, Dr Henry Becker, writes: "First, they chose an ill-suited site for the camp. Then they supplied so little water that the people could neither wash themselves nor their clothes. Furthermore, they made no provision for sufficient waste removal. And lastly, they did not provide enough toilets for the overpopulation they had crammed into the camps."
A report on a Ladies' Committee's visit to Bloemfontein camp stated: "They saw how the women tried to wash clothes in small puddles of water and sometimes had to use the water more than once."
3.6. Hospitals of homicide

Ill and healthy people were crammed together into unventilated areas conducive to the spreading of disease and epidemics. At first there were no medical amenities whatsoever in the camps.
Later doctors were appointed, but too few. In Johannesburg there was one doctor for every 4 000 afflicted patients.
A report on the Irene camp states that, out of a population of 1325 detainees, 154 were ill and 20 had died during the previous week. Still this camp had only one doctor and no hospital.
In some camps matters were even worse. The large Bloemfontein camp did not have a single doctor; only one nurse who could not possibly cope with the conditions. During a visit to Norvalspont camp Emily Hobhouse could not even find a trained nurse.
The later appointment of medical personnel did not improve the conditions. They were appointed for their loyalty towards the British invasion; not for their medical capability. They maltreated the Boere.
Emily Hobhouse tells the story of the young Lizzie van Zyl who died in the Bloemfontein concentration camp: "She was a frail, weak little child in desperate need of good care. Yet, because her mother was one of the 'undesirables' due to the fact that her father neither surrendered nor betrayed his people, Lizzie was placed on the lowest rations and so perished with hunger that, after a month in the camp, she was transferred to the new small hospital. Here she was treated harshly. The English disposed doctor and his nurses did not understand her language and, as she could not speak English, labelled her an idiot although she was mentally fit and normal. One day she dejectedly started calling:

Mother! Mother! I want to go to my mother! One Mrs Botha walked over to her to console her. She was just telling the child that she would soon see her mother again, when she was brusquely interrupted by one of the nurses who told her not to interfere with the child as she was a nuisance." Shortly afterwards, Lizzie van Zyl died.
Treu, a medical assistant in the Johannesburg concentration camp, stated that patients were bullied and even lashed with a strap.
Ill people who were taken to the camp hospitals were as good as dead. One woman declared: "We fear the hospitals more than death."
The following two reports should give an idea of the inefficiency of the camp hospitals: "Often people suffering from a minor ailment were violently removed from the tents of protesting mothers or family members to be taken to hospital. After a few days they were more often than not carried to the grave."
"Should a child leave the hospital alive, it was simply a miracle."
(Both quotations from Stemme uit die Verlede - a collection of sworn statements by women who were detained in the concentration camps during the Second War of Independence.)
3.7. The highest sacrifice

In total 27 000 women and children made the highest sacrifice in the British hell camps during the struggle for the freedom of the Boerevolk.
Mrs Helen Harris, who paid a visit to the Potchefstroom concentration camp, stated: "Imagine a one year old baby who receives no milk; who has to drink water or coffee - there is no doubt that this is the cause of the poor health of the children."
Should one take note of the fact that it were the English who killed the Boers' cattle with bayonets, thereby depriving the children of their food sources, then the high fatality rate does not seem to be incidental.
Despite shocking fatality figures in the concentration camps, the English did nothing to improve the situation, and the English public remained deaf to the lamentations in the concentration camps as thousands of people, especially children, were carried to their graves.
The Welshman (emphasis supplied), Lloyd George, stated: "The fatality rate of our soldiers on the battlefields, who were exposed to all the risks of war, was 52 per thousand per year, while the fatalities of women and children in the camps were 450 per thousand per year. We have no right to put women and children into such a position."
An Irishman, Dillon, said: "I can produce and endless succession of confirmations that the conditions in most of the camps are appalling and brutal. To my opinion the fatality rate is nothing less than cold-blooded murder." (emphasis supplied)
One European had the following comment on England's conduct with the concentration camps: "Great Britain cannot win her battles without resorting to the despicable cowardice of the most loathsome cure on earth - the act of striking at a brave man's heart through his wife's honour and his child's life." (emphasis supplied)
The barbarousness of the English is strongly evidenced by the way in which they unceremoniously threw the corpses of children in heaps on mule carts to be transported to the cemeteries. The mourning mothers had to follow on foot. Due to illness or fatigue many of them could not follow fast enough and had to miss the funerals of their children.
According to PF Bruwer, author of Vir Volk en Vryheid, all the facts point out that the concentration camps, also known as the hell camps, were a calculated and deliberate effort by England to commit a holocaust on the Boerevolk.

Hennie Barnard, THE CONCENTRATION CAMPS 1899-1902, 3.3 to 3.7

Comment by Pastor Photios:

I left out the gruesome photos in this book showing the holocaust state of children etc. But let me assure you they show the same callousness to their Boer 'guests' that the Nazis displayed toward the Jews in their 'Final Solution'. The British method of extermination was different from the Nazi thugs but just as effective. Imagine this, 26,000 women and children die under the 'care' of the British in their concentration camps. Some articles I have read claim that up to 50% of Boer children died in them. It is clear the British treated these women and children as if they were not human; yet, they do love their little cuddly animals that sit on their laps and adorn their house floors as pets. Isn't it tragic that we can't seem to love human beings as we love our animals? We, as His people, are to love our neighbours (i.e., everyone) as Christ loves us.

When the Titanic went to its watery grave in 1912 (just ten years after the end of the Boer War), many men, including British on board did the right thing and went down with the ship to allow their wives and children to try to escape a similar chilly fate (see Missionary Peter Hammond's wonderful article on such heroism at 100 YEARS AFTER THE TITANIC TRAGEDY ).

What, then, is it about war that brings out the beast in us?

[inserted on June 21, 2012]


Rev. Dr. Francis Nigel Lee ( 1934-2011) REV. DR. ANDREW MURRAY -- CALVINIST, OR PENTECOSTALIST? (Andrew Murray, 1828-1917, was a famous South African evangelist.)

[inserted on June 20, 2012]


Fr. Rene-Francois Guettee (19th century) THE PAPACY
(Fr. Guettee shatters the pretensions of the Great Whore of Babylon!)

[inserted on June 11, 2012]


HOLY SCRIPTURE: CONFESS THE FAITH!

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed" ( Romans 10:9-11).

[inserted on June 9, 2012]


DOES GOD LOVE EVERYONE AND INTEND ALL TO BE SAVED?

See the remarks of Rev. Angus Stewart below:

Does God love everybody, including the reprobate, those whom He has chosen not to save? Does God desire to save everybody? Does God have a wonderful plan for everybody’s life?

God does love all His elect people, the spiritual Israel of God. "Jacob have I loved," God declares (Rom. 9:13). God does desire to save the elect and God shows that He desires to save the elect by sending Jesus Christ to die for them and by giving them faith and repentance that they might fellowship with and glorify Him. Moreover, God does have a wonderful plan for the lives of all of His elect people, for "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28). This wonderful plan which God has for the believer’s life includes things which he would not have chosen for himself. But in God’s infinite wisdom, in His grace and providence, all things do work together for the believer’s spiritual and eternal good.

If these questions, though, are applied to the reprobate, the answer to all of them is "No." God does not love them. "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (Rom. 9:13). Esau, here, is an individual. But it is not as if God loved all the reprobate people in the world but hated just this one individual person. That is not the idea. All who are reprobated, God hates. God does not desire to save them. As Jesus said in Matthew 11, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and the prudent … Even so Father for so it seemed good in thy sight" (vv. 25-26). This is good in God’s eyes. This is God’s desire, His purpose and will in this world. The whole Scripture teaches (and this is taught too especially in the Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. & A. 27-29), that those who are outside of Jesus Christ and are not chosen are cursed. They are cursed in their unbelief and rebellion both in this world and in the world to come. They perish forever and ever in hell. This is not a wonderful plan for them. In God’s purpose it brings glory to Him. It magnifies His justice. But for them it is not a wonderful plan. It is only mockery to proclaim to everybody promiscuously, including people who are professed unbelievers, that God has a wonderful plan for their lives. God did not have a wonderful plan for Esau (Rom. 9:10-13). He did not have a wonderful plan for Pharaoh (Rom. 9:17-18). He does not have a wonderful plan for the reprobate.

Read the article by Rev. Angus Stewart, Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena, Northern Ireland, DOES GOD REALLY DESIRE TO SAVE THE REPROBATE?

[inserted on June 6, 2012]


Prof. David J. Engelsma (b. 1939), emeritus professor of the Protestant Reformed Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI A DEFENSE OF CALVINISM AS THE GOSPEL
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29).
"Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified" (Romans 8:30).

[inserted on June 4, 2012]


Bishop J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), A SKETCH OF THE LIFE AND LABORS OF GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770)
(a wonderful 'working portrait' of the world's greatest preacher/evangelist since St. Paul)

[inserted on June 2, 2012]


VERY APPROPRIATE FOR PENTECOST:

Dr. Peter Hammond, South African Missionary, THE FIRE OF GOD

Dr. Peter Hammond can be contacted at FRONTLINE FELLOWSHIP

[inserted on May 25, 2012]


Charles H. Spurgeon, Puritan (1834-1892), read these in sequence for the greatest spiritual effect: THE PRIEST IS DISPENSED WITH: PART 1 (HOW ARE WE TO BE BELIEVERS?)
THE PRIEST IS DISPENSED WITH: PART 2 (HOW KNOW WE THAT BELIEVERS ARE SAVED?)
and
THE PRIEST IS DISPENSED WITH: PART 3 (HOW DO WE KNOW THAT WE ARE BELIEVERS?)

Comments by Pastor Photios:

As the great preacher Spurgeon proves by Holy Scripture, none of us needs the reassurance by a third party, either priest or pastor or anyone else, that we are saved. Christ is our only mediator, not anyone else. We simply need to believe in Him. Christ's direct words are crystal clear on this point. If we believe in Him, then we are assured that we are saved. Christ declares that believers are saved. If we don't believe Him on this point, we really do not believe in Him. It's as simple as that. Our lives subsequent to our being born again in Him will reflect our belief. We feel differently about Him, our hearts seem to glow with love for Him and a desire to follow Him, but we don't need any dramatic physical miracles. Believing in Christ brings us the Holy Spirit, who spiritually resides in every believer's heart. If we believe in Him, we are of His elect. You can be assured of that. Christ will never give up on you if you are a believer. When we believe in God, we will not be condemned but have "everlasting life" and "not undergo spiritual and eternal death, but only that which is physical and temporary" (See John 5:24 and the comments on this verse in particular by eleventh century renowned Byzantine preacher BL. Theophylact, THE EXPLANATION OF THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN, Volume IV, Chrysostom Press, 2007, p. 89.)

[inserted on May 20, 2012]


Pastor Photios, CHRIST'S BELOVED DISCIPLE & BOSOM BUDDY

[inserted on May 16, 2012]


A. W. PINK, SOLID CALVINIST/MAN OF GOD (1886-1952), see his
A CALL TO SEPARATION

Comments by Pastor Photios:

The very spiritual Pink stresses to us what we need to put into practise “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14, and also see 15-18)

Questions for our consideration - I frame them as questions to you all, but they are equally applicable to me:

Do you attend a congregation where same-sex marriage or civil unions are supported, encouraged or otherwise tolerated? Does your pastor support abortion? Or, is he just 'silent' about it? Does your pastor soft pedal the Gospel and feed you baby food instead of God's power? Are you being instructed in the so-called 'prosperity gospel'? Do you believe in sin, in particular, of others, not your own'? Do you have people sitting next to you who deny or question the Lord's divinity? Do you question or deny that the sole way to heaven is through Christ. Do you or others you associate with not believe in Mary's virginity, both before and after the coming of Christ in the flesh? Do you hear the Holy Trinity denied or questioned? Are Christ's miracles disputed or downplayed? Do you have couples in your congregation who are living together outside of wedlock? Do these couples take Holy Communion? Does the pastor know they are fornicating (i.e., committing adultery)? Does your congregation 'celebrate' or in any way support the demonic Halloween? Do you or any of the other parishioners allow your children to 'trick or treat' on this antichrist day? Do any of your church members believe Jesus was just a prophet, or a 'good guy'? Do you or any of the members you know interact socially with pagan types or unbelievers as we have mentioned?

Are you or any of your members social/lukewarm/ nominal Christians, i.e., viewing the Church as Christ did not view it? (Jesus requires spiritual fire and commitment.) I.e., being 'almost Christian' doesn't cut it with the Lord. The most dangerous threat to our faith is not Islamic jihad against the West; rather, it is the demonic deception against the Lord within us. We are lost in the secular world, that of the devil. We are rebelling against Christ by our disobedience to His Word.

Remedy - Following Him is our only answer. To be saved, we must be one of His people, those He has chosen to be with Him in paradise. You can be one of those if you truly believe in Him. If you believe, truly believe, in Him, this is evidence that He has chosen you, that, indeed, you are one of His elect. He came for, died on the Cross for, arose from the dead for, ascended to heaven and sits on the right hand of the Father for, His people. If you really are one of His chosen people, you will love and obey Him. You will be zealous for Him. You will strive to be like Him.

But you must be a true follower, accepting and obeying Him, not just partially but with all your heart. Yours (and mine) will be a lonely journey requiring us to 'be separate' spiritually from the world. If you are presently unequally yoked with unbelievers, you have no choice but to disassociate yourself from them. You will be well rid of them.

Pray to Him that through His grace He will provide you with a "Chinese Wall" of spiritual privacy where nothing but God's unfiltered Word passes through, thus constructing a 'virtual monastery' in defense against the Evil One , fortifying yourself from the ravagings of sin and concentrating upon serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray to the Lord, explain to Him what you want and ask Him for it. He has the absolute power to grant whatever you wish and will do so, He will never refuse you for a sound Scripturally-supported request. However, remember, He requires obedience, which necessarily involves living our lives on earth for Him. We must live a separate spiritual life from those He has not chosen. We will not be perfect in this world, only Jesus Christ has ever lived an unsullied life on earth. But, God will pick up His people when they periodically fall (sin) and keep them on His track because He loves them and will not allow them to fail. You, as one of His elect, can be absolutely assured of it!

[inserted on May 13, 2012]


Comments by Pastor Photios in full support of the true marriage of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

SHAME ON ROMAN CATHOLIC VICE-PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN. HIS RECENT UNEQUIVOCAL STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF HOMOSEXUAL 'MARRIAGE' IS DISGUSTING. See his BLASPHEMOUS remarks of May 6th, 2012 on a notoriously 'liberal' television network.

QUERY: Why hasn't the Roman Catholic organisation excommunicated him and any others who take such a similar stance?

If you are a Christian pastor, do you allow an individual taking a similar stance in your congregation to take Holy Communion? If so, you shouldn't unless anyone doing so sincerely repents. There is no 'freedom' to blaspheme Christian marriage in the church.

REMEMBER TO VOTE ANY DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN SUPPORTING SUCH A STAND OUT OF OFFICE THIS FALL. THE LORD SUPPORTS YOU IN THIS!

[inserted on May 7, 2012]


Comments by Pastor Photios on the opulence of some contemporary, purportedly Christian, televangelists:

see this 5/5/2012 article and then compare this materialistic 'prosperity gospel,' in truth, antiChrist behaviour with THE QUAKER mINISTER (small "m" intentionally):

"The Quaker minister is one who seeks, not to glorify himself, but to make himself unnecessary (emphasis supplied). "

D. Elton Trueblood, noted 20th century American Quaker author/theologian (1900-1994 ), THE PEOPLE CALLED QUAKERS, (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1966), Chapter 6, A Practical Alternative to Clergy and Laity, p. 110.

Please read Quaker Trueblood's BIOGRAPHY and compare his personal witness for Christ with the 'Christian example' of the prosperity gospel highlivers (on your money, of course). Were you one of the donators of the 93 million dollars gathered during 2010 as stated by the article?

Another suggestion - reread (or read as your case may be) the New Testament, in particular the sayings/witness, including 'lifestyle' of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Then consider how absurd it would be to believe that living in such ostentatious outlandish ways as some of the televangelist crowd (as well as other not so well known highflyers) is Christlike. Even if fancy cars and jet aircraft had been available in the first century, He would still have been walking or riding a donkey. Christ's example is one steeped in humility and His ultimate sacrifice for believers such as you and me. We believers are to emulate Him as far as that is possible considering our sinful natures.

Christ is the gold standard for our lives, but His gold is not that of the prosperity gospel crowd. Christ tells us that strait is His gate and narrow His way and warns us of wolves (false teachers):
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly (emphasis supplied) they are ravening wolves" (Matt. 7:13, 14, 15).

[inserted on May 7, 21012]


John Bunyan (1628-1688), his classic THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS

[inserted on May 5, 2012]


JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564) ON JOHN 1:9 (The true light was that which enlighteneth every man who cometh into the world.)
from Calvin's Commentary on John Volume 1
:

“But here the Evangelist speaks of him who is the only and eternal source of illumination, as he immediately shows more clearly.

9. The true light was (emphasis supplied). The Evangelist did not intend to contrast the true light with the false, but to distinguish Christ from all others, that none might imagine that what is called light belongs to him in common with angels or men. The distinction is, that whatever is luminous in heaven and in earth borrows its splendor from some other object; but Christ is the light, shining from itself and by itself, and enlightening the whole world by its radiance; so that no other source or cause of splendor is anywhere to be found. He gave the name of the true light, therefore, to that which has by nature the power of giving light

Which enlighteneth every man (emphasis supplied). The Evangelist insists chiefly on this point, in order to show, from the effect which every one of us perceives in him, that Christ is the light. He might have reasoned more ingeniously, that Christ, as the eternal light, has a splendor which is natural, and not brought from any other quarter; but instead of doing so, he sends us back to the experience which we all possess. For as Christ makes us all partakers of his brightness, it must be acknowledged that to him alone belongs strictly this honor of being called light.

This passage is commonly explained in two ways. Some restrict the phrase, every man, to those who, having been renewed by the Spirit of God, become partakers of the life-giving light. Augustine employs the comparison of a schoolmaster who, if he happen to be the only person who has a school in the town, will be called the teacher of all, though there be many persons that do not go to his school. They therefore understand the phrase in a comparative sense, that all are enlightened by Christ, because no man can boast of having obtained the light of life in any other way than by his grace. But since the Evangelist employs the general phrase, every man that cometh into the world, I am more inclined to adopt the other meaning, which is, that from this light the rays are diffused over all mankind, as I have already said. For we know that men have this peculiar excellence which raises them above other animals, that they are endued with reason and intelligence, and that they carry the distinction between right and wrong engraven on their conscience. There is no man, therefore, whom some perception of the eternal light does not reach.

But as there are fanatics who rashly strain and torture this passage, so as to infer from it that the grace of illumination is equally offered to all, let us remember that the only subject here treated is the common light of nature, which is far inferior to faith; for never will any man, by all the acuteness and sagacity of his own mind, penetrate into the kingdom of God. It is the Spirit of God alone who opens the gate of heaven to the elect (emphasis supplied). Next, let us remember that the light of reason which God implanted in men has been so obscured by sin, that amidst the thick darkness, and shocking ignorance, and gulf of errors, there are hardly a few shining sparks that are not utterly extinguished.”

[inserted on April 27, 2012]


DON'T BE A HALF-WAY CHRISTIAN!

George Whitefield, the world's greatest evangelist (1714-1770), THE ALMOST CHRISTIAN

[inserted on April 24, 2012]


A SPIRITUAL GEM FROM MADAME GUYON (1648-1717), FRENCH MYSTIC AND TRUE SAINT OF CHRIST:

LEAVE EVERYTHING TO GOD, THEN ALL WILL 'WORK OUT' THE WAY HE INTENDS!

God gives what is best for us, though not what we most relish or wish for. Were people but convinced of this truth, they would be far from complaining all their lives. By causing us death He would procure us life; for all our happiness, spiritual, temporal and eternal, consists in resigning ourselves to God, leaving it to Him (emphasis supplied) to do in us and with us as He pleases, and with so much the more submission; as things please us less. By this pure dependence on His Spirit, everything is given us admirably.

Madame Guyon, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MADAME GUYON, PART ONE, Chapter 21

[inserted on April 15, 2012]


A SPECIAL WARNING TO ALL AMERICANS ON THE STATE OF 'GOVERNMENT' IN AMERICA BY THE HONORABLE ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO, FORMER SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE, STATE OF NEW JERSEY:

"WHAT IF THE GOVERNMENT REJECTS THE CONSTITUTION?"
Fox News, April 12, 2012

Comment by Pastor Photios:

Judge Napolitano has authored six books on the United States Constitution and is senior judicial analyst for Fox News. In this justifiably- alarming series of posed questions, he strikes at the very heart of our current American demise. In his conclusionary paragraph, he poses the ultimate questions: "What if enough is enough? What do we do about it? What if it's too late?"

The answer would have been simple to our forefathers. They would have revolted again and again against such tyrannies.

However, the Lord may have answers of His own in mind. He fostered the "American Experiment" in freedom. It appears that untrustworthy folk on both sides of the legislative aisle as well as in the executive branch of government have 'let down the side', assisted by a pampered, coddled electorate (i.e., all of us). We have all contributed to the American decline in the world, spiritually, morally as well as economically. We are a 'bloody mess'. Shame on us! God formed America and gave it 'special status' to act for Him. We, now, have let Him down. When the Jewish people he had chosen as His people let Him down, as they often did, He let them know about it in no uncertain terms. He will not be mocked! We are on the precipice of ungovernability. God will give us the government we deserve.

What can God-loving God-fearing Christians do?

Only pray. Pray to Him to bring a tidal wave of new revival in His Way to our shores now. Repent to Him for your (our) sins. Admit to Him that we deserve any trials He sends our way. Even if it takes 50% unemployment and the resultant catastrophic destruction of our economy, we deserve it, Lord. On our knees, humbly admit to Him that much much more is at stake than simply the economy: our very souls stand at ultimate risk. Only He can save us. We are powerless to save ourselves, although our evil doings have caused our problems, God has not abandoned us, we have abandoned Him. We need Him desperately, and, on our knees, we must come to Him!

Perhaps in His mercy, He will choose to be relatively lenient. Remember, it's His choice because only He is sovereign, not us as we like to imagine!

[I would recommend reading Dr. Peter Hammond's article about the Resurrection of Christ and the overwhelming evidence in support of it immediately below in tandem with Judge Napolitano's penetrating questions. Then, it should be clear that only He has the answers sought.]

[inserted on April 12, 2012]


SPECIAL: FOR RESURRECTION DAY OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST

Dr. Peter Hammond
Director,
Frontline Fellowship FRONTLINE FELLOWSHIP

Dr. Hammond, on the overwhelming evidence for Christ's Resurrection:

CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!
EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION

[inserted on April 8, 2012]


ALL CHRISTIANS MUST OPPOSE ABORTION AS MURDER:

The Sixth Ecumenical Council (Trullo, in 680 A.D.), Canon 91, in THE RUDDER (PEDALION), p. 395:

"CANON XCI
As for women who furnish drugs for the purpose of procuring abortion, and those who take foetus-killing poisons, they are made subject to the penalty prescribed for murderers.

Interpretation
Some women, who happen to conceive as a result of secretly practicing coition with men, in order to escape detection swallow certain poisonous draughts or herbs by means of which they kill the foetus in their womb and thus expel it dead. For this reason the present Canon condemns to the penalty of murderers all women (or men) who furnish such means, as well as the women who take these and swallow them (emphasis supplied).

Concord
Canon VIII of Basil decrees this same thing verbatim. But treating such women more kindly, the Fathers in Ancyra, in their c. XXI, and St. Basil the Great, in his c. II, do not canonize for life, but only for ten years (emphasis supplied). Drugs for procuring abortion, termed abortifacients, are, as some note, and more especially Suidas, the destructive herb named in c. XXI of Ancyra, but the same term is also applied (in Greek) to the foetus destroyed by it. Even in Book LX of the Basilica, Title 39, both women furnishing and those taking poisonous herbs are condemned as murderesses. Athenagoras, too, in his Apology for Christians, says this very thing. See also Ap. c. LXVI."

Comment by Pastor Photios:

[Also see my homily (sermon) entitled ABORTION IS WILLFUL MURDER!
A memorial to those killed and the ones currently being done away with; the slaughtered millions moan for spiritual justice!
"A society that: Accepts the killing of a third of its babies as women’s ‘emancipation', Considers homosexual marriage to be social progress, Hands out contraceptives to 13-year-old girls at junior high ought to be seeking out a confessional – better yet, an exorcist – rather than striding into a pulpit like Elmer Gantry to lecture mankind on the superiority of 'American values’."

Patrick Buchanan in "What Does America Offer the World?," May 2004]

[inserted on April 2, 2012]


Thomas Watson, Puritan (c. 1620-1686), MYSTICAL UNION BETWEEN CHRIST AND THE SAINTS
My beloved is mine, and I am his.
Song of Songs 2:16

Thomas Watson on FAITH:

"Where reason cannot wade there faith may swim." [See INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES (under FAITH) ]

[Inserted on March 27, 2012]


Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), the most outstanding American Puritan, HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE A REAL CHRISTIAN

Comment by Pastor Photios:

See the complete contents of this wonderfully spiritual explanation by Jonathan Edwards (link above), which includes this beautiful passage:

The light of the gospel is the glory of Christ, his holiness and beauty. Right after this we read, 2 Cor 4:6 “For God, who said, ’Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” Clearly, it is this divine light, shining into our hearts, that enables us to see the beauty of the gospel and have a saving belief in Christ. This supernatural light shows us the superlative beauty and loveliness of Jesus, and convinces us of His sufficiency as our Saviour. Only such a glorious, majestic Saviour can be our Mediator, standing between guilty, hell-deserving sinners such as ourselves, and an infinitely holy God. This supernatural light gives us a sense of Christ that convinces us in a way nothing else ever could.

[inserted on March 26, 2012]


IS MEMBERSHIP IN AN ECCLESIAL ORGANISATION ESSENTIAL OR DETRIMENTAL TO ONE'S SPIRITUAL HEALTH?

Here is the view of Indian Christian Sadhu (holy man) Sundar Singh:

I belong to the body of Christ...to the true church, which cannot be understood as a building of tiles and stones. It is a body of true Christians, living and dead, visible and invisible. But I have nothing against anyone becoming a member of an organised church...As for the Apostolic Succession, I don't believe in it, though if this belief helps people in their spiritual life, then let them believe in it...But if the living Christ is really near us and lives in our hearts, why should we reject Him - the kernel of our faith - and cling to a dried-up outer shell? (emphasis supplied)

Compiled and editied by Kim Comer, WISDOM OF THE SADHU (Teachings of Sundar Singh), Background and Context, pp. 191-192.

“Copyright 2011 by The Plough Publishing House. Used with permission.”

[inserted on March 20, 2012]


Dr. Peter Hammond, Director
Frontline Fellowship
Cape Town, South Africa

Website is Frontline Fellowship

WINNING THE WORLD WAR OF WORLDVIEWS

Suggestion by Pastor Photios:

Dr. Hammond's article should be read together with mine immediately below. [inserted on March 14, 2012]


A CALL FOR NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE AGAINST THE UNGODLY DIRECTION OF CURRENT AMERICA: OPPOSE THE EVILS BROUGHT IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE 1960'S TO THE USA!

Comments by Pastor Photios:

I remember the 1950's as a time when Christian values and practises were still living an unmolested life in this country. Our children were taught Christian obedience and morals as our way to eternal life. Christ's message of 'His way or the highway,' i.e., that the way to salvation was only through Him; that He was a just, loving, yet jealous God, was accepted by far greater numbers (relatively) than in today's hedonist, pagan-seeking, demonically-driven at times America. Oh, those of us who were teenagers then were often rebellious, but it was a relatively benign rebellion. We sinned a lot, fully knowing what we were doing because our parents had instructed us in the Christian faith. We knew what was right or wrong and what was expected of us. And, yes, we actually used the word "sin"! Yes, we went ahead and did the bad things anyway, particularly as teenage boys, but it would never have occurred to us to assert that there was no sin, that we had 'rights' to do evil things or that the basic rules of Christian decency did not apply to us. We had been brought up loved but paddled when we deserved it. Most of us still had our parents. Divorce was relatively unheard of, not the national pastime that it later became. In fact, in my high school class, I cannot remember any class members with divorced parents.

The 1960's brought forth the purveyors of filth to sew the seeds of our moral destruction using 'freedom' as an excuse to commit debauchery and blasphemy. It has only gotten much worse since then. In 2012, we live in a God-denying universe where it is illegal to mention God/Jesus in our public schools; or, indeed, socially frowned upon in many of our nonpublic arenas. Political correctness has been running amok. Immigration is out of control along with illegal immigration being 'winked at' by many responsible authorities in government. The Obama administration continues to whittle away our precious freedoms. Our country is fast becoming a banana republic having abandoned our manufacturing base to the rest of the world, which in turn and in appreciation for our doing so reciprocates by discriminating against our goods' entries into their markets. Our goods continue to decline as we import more and more. We are spiritually, socially and morally bankrupt. The 'one-worlders' have sold us a fraudulent bill of goods about the benefits of 'diversity'. Many of these unchristian 'do-gooders' (for themselves and their political agenda) pine for the day when America as we have known it no longer exists, i.e., for a country where the white race disappears amidst a sea of colour as a penalty for its 'racist' past. These folk long for the destruction of the West and have been 'educated,' really brainwashed throughout their dumbed-down anti-American education. Our young people have 'learned' from deconstructed, fraudulent at the most and at the least heavily biased toward the extreme left, views of American history. It is a wonder that even more young people don't despise the greatest country God has blessed when all they have heard throughout their early school years and allowed to read are basically untrue distortions of America's past. Their textbooks are not only politically biased but written at barely a comic book level. No wonder our educational system is a world joke.

Read Patrick Buchanan's book SUICIDE OF A SUPERPOWER: WILL AMERICA SURVIVE TO 2025?
Book Available for convincing evidence of the fix we are in.

Well, what should we do about it?

Consider nationally demonstrating for Christ and against the evils mentioned above by adopting the method of nonviolent resistance as practised by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Both men ended up being martyred by assassination, but their battles were won. God will back our fight. He never will forsake us. We will never be alone. We must wake up and take our spiritual fight to the secular authorities who are running roughshod over our liberties. Stand up for Jesus's children who have been and are continuing to be massacred in the millions by the evil of abortion. Join forces with all who oppose abortion, homosexual practises, pedophilia, same-sex 'marriages,' same-sex civil 'arrangements' of whatever kind, immigration (lobby to stop all legal immigration for at least 10 years), illegal immigration (support repatriation of all illegal immigrants back to their countries of origin, support extensive fencing and whatever fortifications are essential to stop the flow of illegal immigrants entering from Mexico or Canada, support the positioning of 20,000 to 30,000 soldiers and/or national guardsmen, or whatever number is essential, on the USA/Mexican border to enforce this policy), stop all student visas for foreign students and actively pursue all expired student visas to ensure these folk are deported from the United States as soon as possible.

Support political candidates who support these views and vow to correct the problems they cause.

Be prepared to go to jail for these causes, but be completely peaceable in your protests and turn the other cheek if attacked!

If no candidate for the Presidency or the Congress can be found to support the grievances listed above, why not start a third party movement?

Think about all of the above and many other grave problems the current USA has. Can we afford to do nothing? Ans: clearly, no!

Pray to the Lord to bring His spiritual revolution back to America!!

[inserted on March 13, 2012]


A SHORT, BUT COGENT, MESSAGE FROM JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564):

Let them now go and clamour against us as heretics for having withdrawn from their Church, since the only cause of our estrangement is, that they cannot tolerate a pure profession of the truth. I say nothing of their having expelled us by anathemas and curses. The fact is more than sufficient to excuse us, unless they would also make schismatics of the apostles, with whom we have our common cause. Christ, I say, forewarned his apostles,''they shall put you out of the synagogues" (John 16: 2). ... it is certain that we were cast out, and we are prepared to show that this was done for the name of Christ ... to me it is enough that we behoved to withdraw from them in order to draw near to Christ.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

[Inserted on March 6, 2012]


Matthew Henry (1662-1714), MATTHEW HENRY'S COMMENTARY ON THE WHOLE BIBLE

[inserted on March 5, 2012]


Bishop Alexander (Mileant), SELECTED LIVES OF ORTHODOX SAINTS

ARCHBISHOP INNOCENT OF ALASKA (1797-1878), A TRUE MISSIONARY:

Many years ago the late Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) wrote:"The very presence of Orthodoxy in America has a missionary purpose. Orthodoxy is not the national religion of a few peoples, but the true Church of Christ, and as such meant to be preached to all peoples...." Few Orthodox Americans are perhaps aware of the promising beginning of the Orthodox mission in the 18th and 19th centuries, when a serious attempt was undertaken to make the riches of Holy Orthodoxy accessible to Americans" (Orthodox Word, Vol. 1, No. 5, 1965).

The important first chapter written in American Orthodox history by St. Herman of Alaska's holy life and labors on this continent is now well-known to many, but fewer know and fully appreciate the second chapter in that history, written by the evangelistic struggles of a second righteous one in Alaska, Archbishop Innocent Veniaminov, often called the "Apostle to America."

Born in 1797 and baptized with the name John, this future great missionary bishop came from a pious clerical family, was educated in the usual ecclesiastical manner, graduating at the head of his class, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1821. This giant of a man (he was six foot three, tall even for our times) now began work in the crucible of pastoral activity, where he was to become a giant in the spirit as well.

Although assigned to a regular parish — the Church of the Annunciation in Irkutsk — it was necessary for him to supplement his large family's material needs (he and his Matushka, Katherine, were to have seven children) by making clocks and little barrel-organs — skills that were to be very useful in later missionary activity.

A Missionary Summons

In 1823 his bishop received instructions from the Holy Synod to send a priest to the Russian-American colony in Alaska. In Father John's own words: "When all the clergymen in the diocese were asked by order of the late Bishop Michael if they would like to go to Unalaska — and if not, then why? — I like all the others stated that I did not wish to accept the position because it was too far away....Indeed, how could I — why should I (humanly speaking) — have traveled God-knows where when I had one of the best parishes in the city, when I enjoyed the love of my parishioners and the good graces of the authorities, when I already owned my own home and had a larger income than the salary being offered to whomever was assigned to Unalaska?" Who among us could doubt the sincerity of Fr. John's motives here; who would not identify with his natural desire to stay in the familiar, comfortable and secure world of a cathedral town in Old Russia?

But the Providence of God sent a Russian adventurer from Alaska his way, whose inspiring tales were an instrument of the Holy Spirit in changing Fr. John's heart and destiny: he "began to tell me of the Aleuts' zeal in prayer and hearing the Word of God (I doubtless had heard these same things from him many times before), when suddenly Blessed be the Name of the Lord! — I began to burn with a desire to go to such a people."

Calling Fr. John a "Son of Obedience," Bishop Michael enthusiastically appointed him to this post, and saw to his missionary needs (holy vessels, vestments, service books, two antimensia, as well as salary and a qualified Reader — Fr. John's own nineteen year old brother). On October 20, 1823 — a holy day in the history of American Orthodoxy — this little missionary band arrived safely in Alaska After wintering in Sitka, Fr. John arrived in Unalaska where he inaugurated his missionary activity on August 1, 1824, the Feast of the Procession of the Precious and Life-giving Cross. Fr. John could hardly contain his joy when he wrote that "for the first time since the birth of Christ — in fact, from the creation of the world," the Cross of the Lord had been venerated in that remote and nearly inaccessible part of the world.

There now began the years of hardship, intense missionary activity, struggle, and holy glory, all of which was well documented at the time and serves as a true model for those struggling to work in the missionary fields of America today.

There are two important things 'modelled' for us in Fr. John's missionary approach.

First, he quite literally fell in love with the natives among whom he lived and worked. This cannot be overstated as a necessary criterion for successful missionary work. Externally, superficially, there was nothing attractive about the Aleuts and Eskimos. To a refined and cultured man from a priestly family, these natives might have appeared dirty, ragged, and lazy, as they did to others. But Fr. John saw beyond this to their joyful, affectionate, honest, and above all patient souls. He saw in them decent and precious qualities of character that were plainly lacking in most 'civilized' races, and these qualities warmed and melted his heart with deep Christ-like love for them. As he himself later wrote:

The more I become acquainted with these "savages" the more I love them and am convinced that we, for all our "enlightenment" have, without even noticing it, departed far, far from the paths of perfection. Many a so-called "savage" is morally superior to us so-called "enlightened" people.

Indeed, he was to realize that, "although it is painful and shameful to admit it, holy truth demands we say that the present Russian Orthodox are themselves an obstacle to spreading and confirming Christianity· Our exhortations here are useless..." On a later visit to his homeland, Fr. John was to proudly proclaim not that he was a Russian, but "I'm from America — a savage."

Thus he sought, in constant conversation and concourse, to understand and deeply penetrate the tribal character, not seeking to "russify them but to bring out and enhance their own native character, which was, as he discovered, already "patient, meek, obedient, peaceful, pious" and so forth...

Secondly, he realized immediately that for his missionary task to be fruitful he must use the native languages wherever possible — not only for preaching the Gospel, but also in translating Scripture, the Catechism, and Divine Services. There was no hesitation in his own mind about this, no thought of making the natives into Russians which, had he tried to do so, would only have put massive and quite unnecessary obstacles in the path of salvation for these new sheep of Christ· Besides, it was much more practical for a few missionaries to learn the languages of their flecks than for all of these tribes to learn new tongues.

Devoting at least two hours a day to learning quite difficult native languages, and then making translations for publication, Fr. John encountered a familiar objection from Church authorities back in Russia: how could they be sure that these native languages had the proper terminology to express "accurately and with full force...the lofty truths" of the Gospel?

Returning to Russia, he insured the future of his translating and publishing activities, and won over both the Ober-Procurater and the great and Blessed Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, who quickly saw something "apostolic" about Fr. John. He appeared before the Holy Synod and also had a private audience with the pious Tsar Nicholas I, all of whom enthusiastically gave their support — both moral and financial — to missionary activity in the New World.

During this same visit to his homeland he was raised to the rank of Archpriest and then, shortly, learned of the untimely death of his beloved Matushka. After a pilgrimage to the Kiev Caves he accepted monastic tonsure and was given the name Innocent — touchingly, on the first anniversary of her repose, which was also her Nameday.

While he was still in Russia, the Holy Synod and the Tsar resolved to crests a diocese out of Fr. John's (now Fr. Innocent's) missionary territory. Of the three candidates nominated for bishop, the Tsar chose Archimandrite Innocent because of "his outstanding ability and true worth." Thus, on December 15, 1840, he was consecrated to the episcopacy. One month later he was on his way back to his second homeland, where his own orphaned children in the flesh and those thousands in the spirit eagerly awaited their father's return.

Fields White With Harvest

The next year saw an amazing-one should say truly miraculous — increase in missionary activity, establishing churches, schools, and orphanages. In the words of one observer, "It is difficult to describe in full the labors which this great worker took upon himself. Travel on reindeer, sometimes lack of food, inclement weather — even foul weather — hostile natives, and insults all around — all of this the old man endured patiently and in good humor. Often, when I would mention his incredible labors to him, he would tell me about patience and the rewards in heaven which await those who do good for God and their neighbor. Without rest for nine months the great old man preached the true God before hundreds of savages. With animation, zeal, and often tears in his eyes he taught them the truths of the Gospel, and his labors did not prove in vain.

In particular he encouraged candidates for the priesthood from among the natives themselves, establishing a seminary for this purpose, for "One cannot doubt that there will be success," he wrote, "Of course, everything comes from the Lord. God Himself — and not the preachers — converts people to the path of Truth; these are only His 'weapons'."

After providing a vicar for himself in the New World, Archbishop Innocent moved on to Yakutsk, where he continued his missionary labors, particularly the arduous work of translating the Divine Liturgy into the local vernacular. On the day (July 19, 1859) the newly-translated service books were first presented and used in the Cathedral, tribal leaders petitioned that that day be henceforth kept as a feastday.

Now entering the autumn of his life, and soon to become Metropolitan of Moscow, the greatest see in the Russian Church, Archbishop Innocent first made detailed recommendations about the Church in America. He was convinced that it was God's will that the Russian colonies be sold to the United States for in this way, he wrote, Orthodoxy would spread far beyond his former missionary diocese. He suggested (among other things) that the residence of the bishop be moved to San Francisco and that the bishop and his retinue be required not only to know English but that they and all clerics of the Orthodox Church in America be allowed to celebrate the Liturgy and other services in English (for which purpose, obviously, the service books must be translated into English). And further, that English rather than Russian (which must sooner or later be replaced by English) be used "in all instruction in the schools to be established in San Francisco and elsewhere to prepare people for missionary and clerical positions."

After he was chosen Metropolitan of Moscow, he used his lofty position and influence to encourage more, and still more missionary activity, regardless of the odds and difficulties, convincing the populace at large that it was their "sacred duty" to further — not an ethnic culture, however old and beautiful — but the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout all the world. Thus, not only did he wisely govern the Russian Church, but zealously kept his hand to the missionary plow right up to his holy death on Great Saturday, 1878, as though whether waking or sleeping, he could hear the voice of the Lord whispering in his ear: "Go, and preach the Gospel to all nations…"

It is in this that the greatness , the saintliness of Archbishop Innocent consists. His fearless single-mindedness seems quite awesome to us today, so weighed down by our "sophistication," academic credentials, and worldly comforts; so distracted by our jurisdictional disputes, our modern technology and the signs of an approaching Armaggedon. True, Archbishop Innocent lived in a much simpler age than ours; yet in the balance, although his obstacles were different, ours are no more formidable than his, for with God all things are possible.

There can be no doubt that the powerful personality, the great soul, of this man stands over the Church in America today and, to a certain extent, reproaches us for our weak-heartedness, our lack of missionary zeal. The very fact that many of his own goals and recommendations for Orthodoxy on this continent have waited now for more than 100 years to be fully implemented should shame us all, and surely accounts for the quite minimal success of Orthodoxy since his time. Yet, before his repose 2,000 natives were being baptized every year, and 3,000 more were catechumens!

What became of this wonderful promise, this amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our own times?

[inserted on February 26, 2012]


BE SURE TO READ PAT BUCHANAN'S SUICIDE OF A SUPERPOWER: WILL AMERICA SURVIVE TO 2025?
Book Available

Comments by Pastor Photios:

If only half what Pat Buchanan says about the decline of America is true, it still would be devastating. However, ALL he states is true and heavily backed up by not only research but astute observations about the precipitous decline in our way of life. The USA as we who love her have known it is gone. We have not been defeated by anyone. We have done it to ourselves.

If our forefathers were here today, they would probably advocate revolution. But they would be sorely disappointed in the response because it is clear that most Americans (exclusive of our valiant military personnel) do not seem to find anything that they feel is worth standing up, much less dying, for. A country like this cannot survive. Lord, have mercy on America.

CALL FOR A JESUS REVIVAL OF THE HEART NATIONWIDE

We cannot save ourselves. Our only answer is in Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Come to Him. Confess your sins to Him. You do not need a priest or pastor to do this. You can approach Jesus and the Holy Spirit directly in your prayers. Simply get down on your knees, humble yourselves, confess your sins, promise the Lord that you see His light, that you will follow Him wherever He leads you. Repent! Ask His forgiveness, which He will not deny you. Then follow through in your everyday lives. Begin treating everyone as your neighbours, as Christ instructs us to do. Love not only them but, in particular, your enemies. Forgive them because He will not forgive us unless we do. Our enemies can be 'turned' to us by our Christian example. Christian history is full of remarkable conversions of very evil acting people. St. Paul is a prime example.

The Holy Spirit dwells within His believers. The Holy Spirit guides us through our sanctification to salvation. If we truly believe in Christ (and of course in the Holy Trinity), we must show this spiritual transformation in our dealings with others. We need to see Christ in others. We will if we experience Him in ourselves. We must get rid of the word "I". We must totally reject secular trends such as drugs, alcohol, pornography, unrepentant homosexuality, pedophilia, adultery including fornication (outside a spiritual marriage between a man and woman) and the hedonism of contemporary unhealthy music and art trends some supporting demons or devil worship. We should realise how desperately we need the Lord when we witness the recent lowering of the American flag to half mast to 'honour' a performer who lived a decadent drug-filled life and perhaps died from drug usage/abuse. Since when does America honour such as a hero or heroine? What example does this give to our young people? When Willie Nelson dies, are we going to lower the flag for this unrepentant drug user? Shame on us if we do. If you support a state governor ordering the lowering of our flag at the funeral of Whitney Houston's recent death, get down on your knees and repent, asking the Lord to forgive you and that governor.

Speaking of heavy drug users who eventually became excellent examples for us, look to Country singing legend Waylon Jennings: Waylon's drug habit was so bad that at one time he was spending $1500 daily on cocaine. By observing how terrible an effect this was having on his wife and family, he finally decided to quit. He went back to Arizona where his early career had started and stayed for, I believe, over a month and succeeded in breaking the habit "cold turkey". When he came back, he got rid of all the evil influences around him, probably hangers-on and other druggie types or supporters. Eventually, he penned and sang a terrific song for one of his albums entitled "I'm Living Proof (There's Life After You)"- that a divorce from this evil can be achieved!
Listen to Waylon sing his heart out about how one can kick this habit:WAYLON "I'm Living Proof (There's Life After You)"
On the day Waylon decided he was going to quit, he gave his wife, singer Jessie Colter, $20,000 worth of cocaine to flush down the toilet stool, which she did exuberantly with a shout of "Hallelujah" (she was a preacher's daughter).

Waylon's relationship with Willie Nelson seemed more distant during his last twenty years. It had to be... His family relationship blossomed, and his voice was even much better than it ever had been! He began telling his concert audiences that the only thing he deeply regretted about his life was getting on drugs and he warned them to stay off this killer. Waylon, unfortunately, was not inclined to religion. I don't know whether or not he even believed in God. But God believed in him; otherwise, 'he' couldn't have kicked his twenty-two year drug problem in one month. Only a fool could not see the Lord's hand in this transformation of the singing world's most famous 'outlaw' into the wonderful, caring man he became.

I have an experience in my early life of a very minor comparison with Waylon. Certainly, it didn't require the agony that Waylon must have suffered during his cold turkey descent from the terror of his heavy drug problem. But I had to make a similar breach in a longstanding relationship ( friendship)... I met and married my wife of 51 years+ at a time when I had a history of drinking and carousing around in bars with an old friend of mine. He was married, but this didn't stop him from drinking and doing the bar scene. I abruptly severed our friendship and haven't seen him to this day. I had to do it. I just knew that our new marriage couldn't survive unless I changed my ways. I pray that God intervened in my friend's life before it was too late. The comparison with Waylon and myself (and with anyone really) is that each of us had to get rid of bad influences. His was the drug scene he had been part of for twenty-two years. Mine was a style of life incompatible with a solid marriage. I am sure that Waylon was somewhat ostracised by some of his former 'friends' when he quit drugs. You know that people not strong enough to try to quit something bad for them or ask the Lord for His guidance don't like to see you succeed. Once you announce the change in you, they many times don't want to know you. You should say "good riddance' to such folk!

Tim Tebow, Denver Bronco quarterback, has had a similar 'problem' I am sure from the time he became a practising Christian forward. He did have an advantage in that his parents were missionaries, but this is no guarantee the offspring won't stray, e.g., Franklin Graham comes to mind (of course, he 'returned' to the Christian fold). But it is a fact that in Pat Buchanan's world that we live in, one that is busily ejecting Jesus Christ from itself, once you become a new man in Christ and throw off the old one you will be mercilessly persecuted by the devil's minions who run this world. But, remember, the devil only 'runs' this world at the pleasure of Jesus Christ. Christ uses his evildoings as trials for His believers, you and me.

As you read Pat Buchanan's work, you may begin to doubt if anything can be done about the overwhelming mess the world is in. Well, carry this a bit further and openly admit that you and all of us are completely incapable of solving this problem or set of problems. Despair of it, wring your hands, stew about it, realise how insignificant we are to deal with it all, i.e., deny your 'self'. At this low point, you may be ready for Christ, for He alone is our salvation. Once you recognise this and realise how pathetic we are in ourselves, throw yourselves upon God's mercy, give yourselves to Him completely. Millions of us can still turn back or to Him and begin down His narrow path in our behaviour. Millions of us can ask the Lord through our individual prayers to come into our hearts and into the hearts of our enemies. Millions of us can ask the Lord to revive our hearts in Him throughout this great country of His (ours). Everything is His. Nothing is not within His power. He will not abandon His people:

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
(St. Matthew 28:18-20)

[Inserted on February 22, 2012]


Dr. Peter Hammond, Director,
Frontline Fellowship
Cape Town

website = FRONTLINE FELLOWSHIP

THE GREATEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED

[inserted on February 14, 2012]


Rev. Martyn McGeown, THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN IRELAND AND SODOMY
a must read

website of Rev. McGeown is CONTACT

Comment by Pastor Photios

This article is about a retreat from God's law by the Presbyterian 'Church' in Ireland in 2007. In 2012 America, we see many parallels to such blasphemies. But God will not be mocked! Those American Christians in similar politically correct demon-run organisations masquerading as Christians should take stock of their position and immediately leave their 'religious' environment. False teachers should be avoided 'like the plague'! They are owed no allegiance; in fact, a true Christian has the duty to disobey them and avoid their demonic influence. Seek the faithful remnant, no matter how small, that vow to follow Christ only and are willing to stand against the unrepentant perverts and their false teachers, who are posing as ministers of Christ!

[inserted on February 12, 2012]


Nanak (b. Punjab, 1469-1539), Founder of the Sikh religion and its First Guru (teacher), spoke eloquently through his verse and hymns. We can learn from him about the wonder of WOMAN

"Of woman are we born, of woman conceived,
to woman engaged, to woman married.

Woman we befriend, by woman is the civilization continued.

When woman dies, woman is sought for.

It is by woman that order is maintained.

Then why call her evil from whom great men are born?

From woman is woman born,
And without woman none would exist.

The eternal Lord is the only one, O Nanak,
Who depends not (emphasis supplied) on woman."

Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Scriptures)
Asa, p. 473, quoted in Patwant Singh, THE SIKHS, Chapter One, The Gurus of the Faith 1469-1708, p. 27.

Comments by Pastor Photios:

Sikhs have been continuously persecuted during the 500+ years of this religion's existence; e.g., by Muslims, Hindus and the British. Please query the Internet about these valiant people. MAP They are hated by their persecutors because of their tolerance of others. The Hindu elite particularly despise them because of their disapproval of the odious caste system.

[inserted on February 10, 2012]


A PARAGRAPH BY A.W. PINK ON GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY (perhaps could be read preparatory to beginning Luther's BONDAGE OF THE WILL below):

A.W. Pink (1886-1952), THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, Chapter Four, THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN SALVATION

"Faith is God's gift, and 'all men have not (emphasis supplied) faith' (2 Thess. 3:2); therefore, we see that God does not bestow this gift upon all. Upon whom then does He bestow this saving favour? And we answer, upon His own elect- 'As many as were ordained to eternal life believed' (Acts 13:48). Hence it is that we read of 'the faith of God's elect' (Titus 1:1). But is God partial in the distribution of His favours? Has He not the right to be? Are there still some who murmur against the Goodman of the house? Then His own words (emphasis supplied) are sufficient reply- 'Is it not lawful for Me to do what I will with Mine own? (Matt. 20:15). God is SOVEREIGN (capitals supplied) in the bestowment of His gifts, both in the natural and spiritual realms. So much then for a general statement, and now to particularise..." (closing paragraph before section 1.)

[inserted on February 8, 2012]


Dr. Martin Luther (1483-1546), THE BONDAGE OF THE WILL
This is widely believed to be his greatest theological work. Luther stood with John Calvin and other Reformer pioneers on man's utter helplessness in sin and the Sovereignty of God in grace. This is, indeed, a spiritual masterpiece. Consider it very carefully within your own spiritual context. Remember, God will not be mocked, and He is jealous. So His sovereignty is no laughing matter. Indeed, He is deadly serious about it.

[inserted on February 7, 2012]


Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), Compiler of A PURITAN CATECHISM (with proofs)

[inserted on February 2, 2012]


GOD'S LOVE IS 'SO PRECIOUS THAT YOU WILL DIE FOR IT'

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached a sermon entitled "But If Not" at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, on November 5, 1967. He was 38 years of age when he gave this homily, and he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. He had the strength of conviction for the Lord that we all must have. He was martyred for Christ because he never wavered in loving Him and putting Christian principles into practise. Here is a very relevant closing excerpt from it (the entire sermon is also appended as it has been preserved orally on the Internet BUT IF NOT:

SO PRECIOUS THAT YOU WILL DIE FOR IT

"I say to you this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and so precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren't fit to live. You may be thirty-eight years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid. You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You're afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you're afraid that somebody will stab you or shoot at you or bomb your house. So you refuse to take the stand. Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at thirty-eight as you would be at ninety. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. You died when you refused to stand up for right. You died when you refused to stand up for truth. You died when you refused to stand up for justice.

Don't ever think that you're by yourself. Go on to jail if necessary, but you never go alone. Take a stand for that which is right, and the world may misunderstand you, and criticize you. But you never go alone, for somewhere I read that one with God is a majority (emphasis supplied). And God has a way of transforming a minority into a majority. Walk with him this morning and believe in him and do what is right, and he'll be with you even until the consummation of the ages. Yes, I've seen the lightning flash. I've heard the thunder roll. I've felt sin breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul, but I heard the voice of Jesus saying, still to fight on. He promised never to leave me alone, never to leave me alone. No, never alone. No, never alone."

Quoted from its insertion in THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

[inserted on January 30, 2012]


Jan Huss (1369-1415), his classic on THE CHURCH [1411]

[inserted on January 15, 2012]


FAMOUS MISSIONARIES & EXPLORERS OF AFRICA

Comments by Pastor Photios:

Christians, as well as all others, should benefit from reading the biography of Scot David Livingstone and the article on the man who found him in Africa, Welshman Henry Stanley. Their exploits are legendary but completely true. Theirs was a different time from ours, where one's word was his bond and agreement could be finalised by a handshake. Duty was carried out with courage fit for the Hollywood screen. These two wonderful adventurers personified perseverance and love for their neighbours, i.e., love for everyone. Today, perhaps more than ever before, courageous Godloving and fearing missionaries are needed both within one's own country and in far away lands such as Africa, still exotic and dangerous as always. Indeed, a spiritual revolution has been going on in Africa now for many years, which makes American Christianity appear quite quite tepid by comparison.

I include countries where we normally live to emphasise that being a missionary for Christ is very much needed in the so-called 'advanced' societies, e.g., those of the West. The United Kingdom is a former shadow of itself not only as a world power but more importantly spiritually and morally, where during the twentieth century and continuing into the twenty-first Christ is continually mocked. This is particularly so in secularist England proper (similar mocking is also now underway in the United States under the umbrella of 'political and social correctness'). In fact, the way events are going in England may eventually bring Islam into 'power' unless the Brits wake up and return to Jesus. The same can be said of Continental Europe. At the present time, the England that spawned some of the greatest evangelists in the western world, e.g., George Whitefield, John Wesley, George Fox and the great preaching of Charles Spurgeon , is wallowing in the flesh of this world and in dire need of another Christian revival, as is the faltering giant of God's work, the United States of America. So, let us 'wake up' and carry the banner for Christ in our own backyards whilst simultaneously taking His glorious message to foreign areas. I.e., let's spiritually clean up our own hearts and houses!

But remember we can do nothing on our own to gain our salvation. God is sovereign, meaning He is in total charge. Let us pray that He brings forward a new wave of Christian evangelism within our hearts and the hearts of all humanity everywhere. It is His call, not ours; we are here to obey Him, not dictate His terms. All of us, including this writer, need to keep this in mind!

Two Articles:

(1) DR. DAVID LIVINGSTONE (1813-1873) - SCOTTISH MISSIONARY AND EXPLORER

Dr. Peter Hammond, THE REFORMATION SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA
Director,
FRONTLINE FELLOWSHIP:

(2) HENRY MORTON STANLEY (1841-1904)
"Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

If you have the interest, spirituality and determination (including "guts") to become a missionary, carefully consider going to South Africa and preparing yourself for God's work with Dr. Peter Hammond, Director, Frontline Fellowship (there is a good reason for this title). Here is his information, including the Application Form for missionary training, which can be downloaded:

Frontline Fellowship, MISSIONARY TRAINING PROGRAMME

[inserted on January 9, 2012]


George Whitefield (1714-1770), England's greatest evangelist and most dynamic preacher responds to John Wesley, who had gone astray on the doctrine of election:

A LETTER FROM GEORGE WHITEFIELD TO THE REV. MR. JOHN WESLEY ("No, dear Sir, you mistake!")

See this article for a description and discussion of their dispute:

IAIN MURRAY ON WHITEFIELD AND WESLEY
"This article first appeared in the 1960 edition of Whitefield's Journals, published by The Banner of Truth Trust.[1] Here Iain Murray discusses the historical background that led to George Whitefield's famous letter (ed: dated December 24, 1740 but not published until early 1741) to John Wesley."

[inserted on January 1, 2012]


St. Athanasius (297-393), ON THE INCARNATION

[inserted on December 30, 2011]


John Calvin (1509-1564), COMMENTARY ON ROMANS

[inserted on December 30, 2011]


St. John Chrysostom (347- 407), HOMILY ON THE NATIVITY OF CHRIST

[inserted on December 25, 2011]


Reverend Erlo Stegen, South African Missionary to the Zulus, REVIVAL AMONG THE ZULUS

Pastor Photios: A spiritually amazing account of this dramatic revival among the Zulus. After 12 years of spiritual drought, the Holy Spirit 'took charge' of the Zulu missionary development.
All of us should pray for our own inner revival. Pride must be abandoned, self denied, sins confessed, and all prayers addressed to Him as if we were children again.
Lord, we relish the fact that we are your slaves, do with us as You will!

Some Info on Rev. Stegen: Christians for Truth, CHRISTIAN NEWS 15 DECEMBER 2011 60 INCREDIBLE YEARS OF MINISTRY

[inserted on December 24, 2011]


Dr. Peter Hammond, Director, Frontline Fellowship, Cape Town, South Africa, THE DAY OF THE COVENANT
(Comment by Pastor Photios: Out of the terrible slaughter of lives, God used evil as He sometimes does to effect His agenda: that of coming to Christ. Before the Battle of Blood River, there were no Zulu Christians: As Dr. Hammond states: "Only after the Battle of Blood River (ed: 16 December 1838) did hundreds, and then thousands, of Zulus come to Christ.".... "After the final defeat of the Zulu military, in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, Zulus came to Christ by the hundreds of thousands. Today there are millions of Zulu Christians.")

Remember, though, that God does not do evil, others do. He many times uses the evil actions of human beings for good. Otherwise, Saul would never have become the Apostle Paul. He was a chief persecutor of Christ's disciples until his momentous conversion. Zulus today have experienced and are still undergoing tremendous Christian revival. Who would have thought it a hundred or so years ago?

Let's all pray that God removes the current evil South African government and brings forth another sweeping revival in His Name. God chose to change the Afrikaners' hearts and bring about the fall of Apartheid in South Africa. Now the new tyrants are as bad or perhaps even worse than the old. Please, Lord, if it pleases You, change the hearts of the current evil folk to do your Will!

[inserted on December 16, 2011]


R.L. Dabney (1820-1898), THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM

[inserted on December 15, 2011]


Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), JESUS OUR LORD, sermon no. 2806, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Newington, April 1, 1877
Jesus is the sole head of the Church. It is blasphemous to say otherwise:

"The Church of God, in a very special manner, calls Jesus 'our Lord,' for there is not, and there cannot be any head of the Church except the Lord Jesus Christ. It is awful blasphemy for any man on earth to call himself Christ's vicar and the head of the church, and it is a usurpation of the crown rights of King Jesus for any king or queen to be called the head of the church, for the true Church of Jesus Christ can have no head but Jesus Christ himself. I am thankful that there is no head to the church of which I am a member save Jesus Christ himself, nor dare I be a member of any church which would content to any headship but his. You may put some other interpretation upon the title; but if it means what is meant, in Scripture, by the term 'the Head of the Church,' it is an infringement of the crown rights of the King of kings and Lord of lords. The true Church of Christ keeps that title for her Lord alone, and will not own another head. Nobody can make new laws for the true Church of Christ. You know that parliament makes laws which tell which way you shall turn when you say your prayers, and what clothes you shall put on, and I know not what beside; but that is a poor parody of the true Church which submits to such lordship as that. If I were a member of a church whose laws were made by a parliament that might consist of Jews and Gentiles atheists and skeptics, I would be out of it as quickly as I could. There is no lawmaker for the Church of God but Jesus Christ himself, and no one can take his place, and no one will be allowed to take it when the Lord wakes up his people to be loyal to what is written in this blessed Bible. This is our Statute-book, and we acknowledge no other but that which King Jesus has given us. 'To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.'"

For the entire sermon see JESUS OUR LORD

Comments by Pastor Photios:

John MacArthur, in his excellent book, SLAVE, cites convincing spiritual proofs that Jesus and no other is the sole head of the Church; see, particularly, Chapter Four, THE LORD AND MASTER (Part 1) and THE LORD AND MASTER, (Part 2), (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2010), pp.55-81. MacArthur cites the arrogance of Rome in this way with a formidable source: "The arrogance inherent in (emphasis supplied) the papal system was such that Luther remarked, 'I am persuaded that if at this time, St. Peter, in person, should preach all the articles of Holy Scripture, and only deny the pope's authority, power, and primacy, and say, that the pope is not the head of all Christendom, they would cause him to be hanged (emphasis supplied). Yea, if Christ himself were again on earth, without all doubt the pope would crucify him again (emphasis supplied).'" SLAVE, citing Luther on pp. 65-66.

MacArthur also cites the summary of Charles H. Spurgeon in another of his sermons, "THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH," no. 839, in which Spurgeon points out most tellingly that no pope could be head of the Church because popes die: "No, these popes die and how could the church live if its head were dead? The true (emphasis supplied) Head ever lives and the church ever liveth in him." (Ibid., p. 67.)

[inserted on December 12, 2011]


South African Evangelist Andrew Murray (1828-1917) WITHIN or THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU

[inserted on December 10, 2011]


DEPEND ON HIM

Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769), German Pietist & Mystic, January 14, 1746:

"May Jesus, himself, by His Spirit, guide us into the way of all truth! (John xvi. 13.) For we are like foolish children, who when left to themselves, continually err from the way, and cannot depend upon yesterday's light. Methinks I become daily more foolish and ignorant, and am therefore astonished that I am still good for anything, or do anything in a proper manner. But experience will teach us, that an unceasing dependence on our internal guide, will lead us entirely right, although it may not appear to us to be so; and that we soil and spoil everything, when we do not rely wholly (emphasis supplied) upon Him, and are desirous of guiding ourselves by our own light and wisdom."

(See LIFE AND CHARACTER OF GERHARD TERSTEEGEN: WITH EXTRACTS FROM HIS LETTERS AND WRITINGS (1832))

[inserted on December 4, 2011]


THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS FAST APPROACHING: BE PREPARED FOR INSULTS TO CHRIST BUT RESPOND WITH KINDNESS AND ASK THE LORD TO FORGIVE THEM

As America slides further and further into paganism, true Christians should prepare themselves for the upcoming direct and indirect blasphemies against Christ. Some may seem like 'little things' but these amount to a lot many times. They reflect the disturbing trends going on in the world's center of freedom. It has become quite fashionable to ridicule our Lord but at the same time 'pride oneself' in being quite tolerant of other religions or all kinds of weird groupings. The President of the USA omits God from a Thanksgiving function. Evangelical Christians are snubbed for the 9/11 National Cathedral event, but nonChristian representatives were invited - outrageous!. Christians are under fire for wearing small crosses around their necks and, in some cases, being prohibited from doing so. It is becoming almost taboo for us to mention Christ's name in public. Nominal Christians, those millions in this country whose faith is an inch deep but 3,000 miles wide (thus, they really aren't Christians at all, certainly not when you consider that Christ requires us to walk His narrow path through His narrow gate to Him), are silent about this ongoing discrimination against the Lord Jesus Christ. They do Him a tremendous injustice. Remember, God will not be mocked. He is also a jealous God and rightly so. The sole way to salvation is through our Lord Jesus Christ . There is no other way:

"Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (St. John 14:6)

Scripture is clear. What about it do we not understand?

Throughout this country (and the decadent western world), Christ is being defamed, particularly at this time of year. Greetings for the 'Holiday' season replace Christmas, and perish the thought that any reference to the birth of Jesus should be made. I have not seen any ad on TV which connects Christ's nativity with the 'holiday' season. This is completely unacceptable. Are you this kind of heathen? Do you agree with people like the folk today in Rhode Island who have substituted the generic 'holiday' for Christmas? Apparently, they feel that any reference to Christ (for those of you who are unaware perhaps, Christ is within the word Christmas, how very strange since the event is only about Him!) is 'intolerant'. Rhode Island, in an area of the country where the greatest Christian pilgrims and refugees from religious persecution came - how sad...

Do your part in fighting this blasphemy against Christ. You can begin by greeting everyone not with "Have a good day" but, rather, with "May Jesus bless you this Christmas" or, simply, "God bless you". In addition, don't tell anyone "Good luck". God is sovereign and thus almighty. He planned everything, so Faith has no luck in it. God is in charge. In God's overall scheme of divine things, His will and work are supreme, not subject to error. God does not fumble or drop the ball. He does not make mistakes of any kind.

May God bless us all and give us strength to fight for Him against the heathen world that a lot of current America seems to be embracing.

In Christ,

Pastor Photios

[inserted on December 1, 2011]


THE TIM TEBOW SAGA: AN EXAMPLE AND LESSON FOR ALL OF US

For those of you unaware of current events, Tim Tebow is a former Heisman Trophy winner in football. He now plays in the National Football League for the Denver Broncos. He is a fine young Christian man, who gets flack from his NFL colleagues and some of the general public for his quite public stance for Jesus. He has the unmitigated gall to stand up for Christ in the midst of America's heathenism today! Well, now, shame on him, how could he subject the rest of us to hearing him praise Jesus when he scores a rushing touchdown, completes a touchdown pass and when his team wins a game? He stands out in this regard. Only a few NFL players are so inclined, Kurt Warner, the former football great, being one of them, a fine decent Christian man. As recently as the 1950s, this type of standout, separated man for Christ would have received widespread praise for his praise of the Lord. But the 50s was the last decade of American religious strength and Christian separatism. It's been all downhill since and is escalating out of control.

Now I will suggest to young Tim that he might consider standing up for Jesus not so much in a way that can be misconstrued as a 'show' but in a private way, within himself. We are to go into our 'closet,' to engage the Lord privately:

See the Lord's words in His Sermon On The Mount:

"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (St. Matthew 6:5)

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet (emphasis supplied), and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." (St. Matthew 6:6)

It is obvious that Tim is quite sincere, but though we are not to hide the light of Christ let our love for Him shine through in the way we treat our neighbours, including our enemies. Let the example of our lives be witnessed by others, who will then realise the wonder that is Christ and be led to ask the Holy Spirit to change themselves from within as young Tebow has been.

I do have a humble suggestion for Tim Tebow: he should reconsider his prayers re the secular game of football and redirect his effort to praying to God for his neighbours and our enemies for Him to help them by intervening in their hearts and changing them from within to follow Him. I.e., perhaps Tim Tebow should not consider that the game of football is a proper item, specifically the question of winning or losing in that secular game, to ask God's help in:

Hear the Lord, again in His Sermon On The Mount:

"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking". (St. Matthew 6:7) This means we are not to ask for things of this world, which is of the devil, not Christ. We pray foolishly when we ask God "for such worldly things as fame, wealth, or victory". (Blessed Theophylact, THE EXPLANATION OF THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW, [Chrysostom Press, House Springs, MO], p. 57.)

A lot of us, I am confident are 'sick and tired' of seeing many of the young NFL players drop down on one knee and make the sign of the Cross after scoring a touchdown, looking up to the sky, some gesticulating apparently to God, 'thank You'! Winning or losing in the game of football is not on God's list of acceptable petitions to Him. This, I know, will be difficult for the American secular culture to accept, much less understand... (smile) Anyway, Tim, stand up for Christ certainly, don't let His name be blasphemed, but concentrate on being His example without necessarily putting on a show. After all, prayer can be in our closet, meaning in private, between the Lord and us.

Potential ministry for you, Tim, in the football arena: become a missionary to your football colleagues, teammates and to the football industry and society in the fight against the widespread usage of steroids in the sport! Other areas would be the sexual sins committed by successful football players, 'hosing the Ho's', hanging out at strip joints, euphemistically called "Gentlemen's Clubs" in Texas (a real gentleman would not be caught dead in one of these), participating in any way in pornography; and, in particular, Tim, you could be an ambassador to the game to rid it at any level of all child molesters! There's plenty of the Lord's work around, Tim, and it's much more spiritually important than winning or losing a commercial game!

May the Lord continue to guide you in His service.

In Christ,

Pastor Photios

[inserted on December 1, 2011]


THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY COMMENTARY ABOUT AMERICA'S DEBT TO GOD AND HIS MESSENGER, JOHN CALVIN; ARGUABLY, CALVIN, NOT WASHINGTON, IS THE REAL FATHER OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Comments from Pastor Photios:

Unfortunately, the America of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is spiraling downward into a paganism probably more evil and malignant than ancient Rome. Current America drastically needs a new revival like the one led by the Protestant Reformers, in particular that of one who has been called the 'real' Father of America, John Calvin, against the evils of the Papacy and those nations carrying out its bloody edicts, such as the infamous Spain in the sixteenth century! We have degenerated from a God-fearing, God-loving people into the present apostasy of a country wallowing in its own immorality, filth and blasphemy against the Lord, being, apparently, fully convinced of its own 'secular righteousness,' and committed to the devilish political correctness/euphemistically-labeled tolerance, but, in truth, intolerance to Christians, which is fast becoming United States policy and procedure. Jesus is being further barred from our classrooms and office and factory workplaces, His name is not to be mentioned in public (governmental) events under the guise of 'unconstitutionality;' the growth of Christian enemies, atheists, Gnostics, witches and all other forms of demonic occult groups is in full swing; Harry Potter is idealised to a point of almost demonic worship, while at the same time lenience and the utmost courtesy and license are extended to Saudi Arabia to build their mosques, madrassas and expand across America spreading their anti-Christian word amongst us when, in fact, Islam has no respect for Christianity and the central values of democracy, which were derived from God through the writings and influence of the transplanted Frenchman John Calvin of Geneva.

Just last week, our President appeared at a function re Thanksgiving and deliberately left out any reference to God. He told the parties assembled "Good luck" instead. This is the first time such an omission has been made at that function. What an insult to our Lord. God will deal with America's rebellion against Him in due course, in His own time and pleasure because He is sovereign!

Our television shows are rife with soft to medium pornography, smutty jokes of the bathroom kind, news and weather 'anchorwomen' with their breasts half hanging out of outfits looking more like a streetwalker's clothes than proper television personality attire, female 'talk' hostesses or members of a trio sitting crosslegged with their skirts up to their upper thighs, crossing and uncrossing their legs occasionally to give the perverts a buzz. On so-called comedies or drama shows, "crotch shots" are many times shot first, one supposes so that the cretins watching these events will remain glued to their chairs. Each new show seems to just have to have a resident homosexual in a starring role, (sometimes more than one) and there is a clear purpose behind these shows to attempt to legitimise and justify as normal behaviour what God finds to be abominable sin. "Normal" - what a joke - homosexuals make up less than or equal to 1% of the American population. So the other 99% has to suffer this disgusting chain of events! Now they 'demand' to be 'married'! A blasphemy against the marriage between man and woman of the Scriptures. The American family is in deep decline, one parent families are becoming close to the 'norm'. Living together seems to be in the process of replacing marriage under God. Some ministers ignore the widespread fornication going on, i.e., sin going on in their congregations. Hard hitting Gospel messages are rare. In short, we have replaced God with the prince of this world, the devil. At the end of the day, so to speak, America will hear from our Lord and, unless we change our ways, the news won't be good!

What do we need? First, we should acquaint ourselves with the great America of yesterday, the America of God as seen through the eyes of our Calvinist forefathers. Do you know that two-thirds of the American colonists at the start of the Revolutionary War were staunch Calvinists? I append below some compelling evidence of these matters for your consideration. John Calvin was the real Father of our American genius, and he owed everything he had to His Lord Jesus Christ. His was a religious zeal and fire encapsulated within a highly spiritual man of God. To this we must return or be forever lost. It will be God's call whether we survive much longer or fade away like old soldiers...

The following is from Chapter XXVIII, CALVINISM IN HISTORY in Loraine Boettner's (1901-1990) classic THE REFORMED DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION (1932) :

[CALVINISM IN AMERICA & CALVINISM AND REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT

7. CALVINISM IN AMERICA

When we come to study the influence of Calvinism as a political force in the history of the United States we come to one of the brightest pages of all Calvinistic history. Calvinism came to America in the Mayflower, and Bancroft, the greatest of American historians, pronounces the Pilgrim Fathers “Calvinists in their faith according to the straightest system.” [184] John Endicott, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony; John Winthrop, the second governor of that Colony; Thomas Hooker, the founder of Connecticut; John Davenport, the founder of the New Haven Colony; and Roger Williams, the founder of the Rhode Island Colony, were all Calvinists. William Penn was a disciple of the Huguenots. It is estimated that of the 3,000,000 Americans at the time of the American Revolution, 900,000 were of Scotch or Scotch-Irish origin, 600,000 were Puritan English, and 400,000 were German or Dutch Reformed. In addition to this the Episcopalians had a Calvinistic confession in their Thirty-nine Articles; and many French Huguenots also had come to this western world. Thus we see that about two-thirds of the colonial population had been trained in the school of Calvin. Never in the world’s history had a nation been founded by such people as these. Furthermore these people came to America not primarily for commercial gain or advantage, but because of deep religious convictions. It seems that the religious persecutions in various European countries had been providentially used to select out the most progressive and enlightened people for the colonization of America. At any rate it is quite generally admitted that the English, Scotch, Germans, and Dutch have been the most masterful people of Europe. Let it be especially remembered that the Puritans, who formed the great bulk of the settlers in New England, brought with them a Calvinistic Protestantism, that they were truly devoted to the doctrines of the great Reformers, that they had an aversion for formalism and oppression whether in the Church or in the State, and that in New England Calvinism remained the ruling theology throughout the entire Colonial period.

With this background we shall not be surprised to find that the Presbyterians took a very prominent part in the American Revolution. Our own historian Bancroft says: “The Revolution of 1776, so far as it was affected by religion, was a Presbyterian measure. It was the natural outgrowth of the principles which the Presbyterianism of the Old World planted in her sons, the English Puritans, the Scotch Covenanters, the French Huguenots, the Dutch Calvinists, and the Presbyterians of Ulster.” So intense, universal, and aggressive were the Presbyterians in their zeal for liberty that the war was spoken of in England as “The Presbyterian Rebellion.” An ardent colonial supporter of King George III wrote home: “I fix all the blame for these extraordinary proceedings upon the Presbyterians. They have been the chief and principal instruments in all these flaming measures. They always do and ever will act against government from that restless and turbulent anti-monarchial spirit which has always distinguished them everywhere.” [185] When the news of “these extraordinary proceedings” reached England, Prime Minister Horace Walpole said in Parliament, “Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson.”

“The Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon, a native of Scotland and a lineal descendant of John Knox, was, in the revolutionary time, president of Princeton College, and was the only clerical member of the Revolutionary Congress. He, as might be expected, earnestly and eloquently supported every measure adopted by Congress for securing independence. When the important moment came for signing the Declaration, and some of the members were hesitating to affix their names to it, he delivered an eloquent appeal, in which he said: ‘That noble instrument upon your table, which insures immortality to its author, should be subscribed this very morning by every pen in the house. He that will not respond to its accents, and strain every nerve to carry into effect its provisions, is unworthy the name of a freeman. For my own part, of property I have some, of reputation more. That reputation is staked, that property is pledged, on the issue of this contest. And although these gray hairs must soon descend into the sepulchre, I would infinitely rather they should descend thither by the hand of the public executioner than desert at this crisis the sacred cause of my country.’” [186]

History is eloquent in declaring that American democracy was born of Christianity and that that Christianity was Calvinism. The great Revolutionary conflict which resulted in the formation of the American nation, was carried out mainly by Calvinists, many of whom had been trained in the rigidly Presbyterian College at Princeton, and this nation is their gift to all liberty loving people.

“The Principles of the Republic of the United States,” says Schaff,” can be traced through the intervening link of Puritanism to Calvinism, which, with all its theological rigor, has been the chief educator of manly character and promoter of constitutional freedom in modern times.” [187]

The testimony of Emilio Castelar, the famous Spanish statesman, orator and scholar, is interesting and valuable. Castelar had been professor of Philosophy in the University of Madrid before he entered politics, and he was made president of the republic which was set up by the Liberals in 1873. As a Roman Catholic he hated Calvin and Calvinism. Says he: “It was necessary for the republican movement that there should come a morality more austere than Luther’s, the morality of Calvin, and a Church more democratic than the German, the Church of Geneva. The Anglo-Saxon democracy has for its lineage a book of a primitive society–the Bible. It is the product of a severe theology learned by the few Christian fugitives in the gloomy cities of Holland and Switzerland, where the morose shade of Calvin still wanders . . . And it remains serenely in its grandeur, forming the most dignified, most moral and most enlightened portion of the human race.” [188] We feel like asking Castelar how a fountain so bitter could send forth such sweet waters.

Says Motley: “In England the seeds of liberty, wrapped up in Calvinism and hoarded through many trying years, were at last destined to float over land and sea, and to bear the largest harvests of temperate freedom for great commonwealths that were still unborn.” [189] “The Calvinists founded the commonwealths of England, of Holland, and America.” And again, “To Calvinists more than to any other class of men, the political liberties of England, Holland and America are due.” [190]

The testimony of another famous historian, the Frenchman Taine, who himself held no religious faith, is worthy of consideration. Concerning the Calvinists he said: “These men are the true heroes of England. They founded England, in spite of the corruption of the Stuarts, by the exercise of duty, by the practice of justice, by obstinate toil, by vindication of right, by resistance to oppression, by the conquest of liberty, by the repression of vice. They founded Scotland; they founded the United States; at this day they are, by their descendants, founding Australia and colonizing the world.” [191]

In his book, “The Creed of Presbyterians,” E. W. Smith asks concerning the American colonists, “Where learned they those immortal principles of the rights of man, of human liberty, equality and self-government, on which they based their Republic, and which form today the distinctive glory of our American civilization? In the school of Calvin they learned them. There the modern world learned them. So history teaches,” (p. 121).

We shall now pass on to consider the influence which the Presbyterian Church as a Church exerted in the formation of the Republic. “The Presbyterian Church,” said Dr. W. H. Roberts in an address before the General Assembly, “was for three-quarters of a century the sole representative upon this continent of republican government as now organized in the nation.” And then he continues: “From 1706 to the opening of the revolutionary struggle the only body in existence which stood for our present national political organization was the General Synod of the American Presbyterian Church. It alone among ecclesiastical and political colonial organizations exercised authority, derived from the colonists themselves, over bodies of Americans scattered through all the colonies from New England to Georgia. The colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it is to be remembered, while all dependent upon Great Britain, were independent of each other. Such a body as the Continental Congress did not exist until 1774. The religious condition of the country was similar to the political. The Congregational Churches of New England had no connection with each other, and had no power apart from the civil government. The Episcopal Church was without organization in the colonies, was dependent for support and a ministry on the Established Church of England, and was filled with an intense loyalty to the British monarchy. The Reformed Dutch Church did not become an efficient and independent organization until 1771, and the German Reformed Church did not attain to that condition until 1793. The Baptist Churches were separate organizations, the Methodists were practically unknown, and the Quakers were non-combatants.”

Delegates met every year in the General Synod, and as Dr. Roberts tells us, the Church became “a bond of union and correspondence between large elements in the population of the divided colonies.” “Is it any wonder,” he continues, “that under its fostering influence the sentiments of true liberty, as well as the tenets of a sound gospel, were preached throughout the territory from Long Island to South Carolina, and that above all a feeling of unity between the Colonies began slowly but surely to assert itself? Too much emphasis cannot be laid, in connection with the origin of the nation, upon the influence of that ecclesiastical republic, which from 1706 to 1774 was the only representative on this continent of fully developed federal republican institutions. The United States of America owes much to that oldest of American Republics, the Presbyterian Church.” [192]

It is, of course, not claimed that the Presbyterian Church was the only source from which sprang the principles upon which this republic is founded, but it is claimed that the principles found in the Westminster Standards were the chief basis for the republic, and that “The Presbyterian Church taught, practiced, and maintained in fulness, first in this land that form of government in accordance with which the Republic has been organized.” (Roberts).

The opening of the Revolutionary struggle found the Presbyterian ministers and churches lined up solidly on the side of the colonists, and Bancroft accredits them with having made the first bold move toward independence. [193] The synod which assembled in Philadelphia in 1775 was the first religious body to declare openly and publicly for a separation from England. It urged the people under its jurisdiction to leave nothing undone that would promote the end in view, and called upon them to pray for the Congress which was then in session.

The Episcopalian Church was then still united with the Church of England, and it opposed the Revolution. A considerable number of individuals within that Church, however, labored earnestly for independence and gave of their wealth and influence to secure it. It is to be remembered also that the Commander-in-Chief of the American armies, “the father of our country,” was a member of her household. Washington himself attended, and ordered all of his men to attend the services of his chaplains, who were clergymen from the various churches. He gave forty thousand dollars to establish a Presbyterian College in his native state, which took his name in honor of the gift and became Washington College.

N. S. McFetridge has thrown light upon another major development of the Revolutionary period. For the sake of accuracy and completeness we shall take the privilege of quoting him rather extensively. “Another important factor in the independent movement,” says he, “was what is known as the ‘Mecklenburg Declaration,’ proclaimed by the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians of North Carolina, May 20, 1775, more than a year before the Declaration (of Independence) of Congress. It was the fresh, hearty greeting of the Scotch-Irish to their struggling brethren in the North, and their bold challenge to the power of England. They had been keenly watching the progress of the contest between the colonies and the Crown, and when they heard of the address presented by the Congress to the King, declaring the colonies in actual rebellion, they deemed it time for patriots to speak. Accordingly, they called a representative body together in Charlotte, N. C., which by unanimous resolution declared the people free and independent, and that all laws and commissions from the king were henceforth null and void. In their Declaration were such resolutions as these: ‘We do hereby dissolve the political bands which have connected us with the mother-country, and hereby absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the British crown. . . . ‘We hereby declare ourselves a free and independent people; are, and of right ought to be, a sovereign and self-governing association, under control of no power other than that of our God and the general government of Congress; to the maintenance of which we solemnly pledge to each other our mutual cooperation and our lives, our fortunes and our most sacred honor.’ . . . That assembly was composed of twenty-seven staunch Calvinists, just one-third of whom were ruling elders in the Presbyterian Church, including the president and secretary; and one was a Presbyterian clergyman. The man who drew up that famous and important document was the secretary, Ephraim Brevard, a ruling elder of the Presbyterian Church and a graduate of Princeton College. Bancroft says of it that it was, ‘in effect, a declaration as well as a complete system of government.’ (U.S. Hist. VIII, 40). It was sent by special messenger to the Congress in Philadelphia, and was published in the Cape Fear Mercury, and was widely distributed throughout the land. Of course it was speedily transmitted to England, where it became the cause of intense excitement.

“The identity of sentiment and similarity of expression in this Declaration and the great Declaration written by Jefferson could not escape the eye of the historian; hence Tucker, in his Life of Jefferson, says: ‘Everyone must be persuaded that one of these papers must have been borrowed from the other.’ But it is certain that Brevard could not have ‘borrowed’ from Jefferson, for he wrote more than a year before Jefferson; hence Jefferson, according to his biographer, must have ‘borrowed’ from Brevard. But it was a happy plagiarism, for which the world will freely forgive him. In correcting his first draft of the Declaration it can be seen, in at least a few places, that Jefferson has erased the original words and inserted those which are first found in the Mecklenberg Declaration. No one can doubt that Jefferson had Brevard’s resolutions before him when he was writing his immortal Declaration.” [194]

This striking similarity between the principles set forth in the Form of Government of the Presbyterian Church and those set forth in the Constitution of the United States has caused much comment. “When the fathers of our Republic sat down to frame a system of representative and popular government,” says Dr. E. W. Smith, “their task was not so difficult as some have imagined. They had a model to work by.” [195]

“If the average American citizen were asked, who was the founder of America, the true author of our great Republic, he might be puzzled to answer. We can imagine his amazement at hearing the answer given to this question by the famous German historian, Ranke, one of the profoundest scholars of modern times. Says Ranke, ‘John Calvin was the virtual founder of America.’” [196]

D’Aubigne, whose history of the Reformation is a classic, writes: “Calvin was the founder of the greatest of republics. The Pilgrims who left their country in the reign of James I, and landing on the barren soil of New England, founded populous and mighty colonies, were his sons, his direct and legitimate sons; and that American nation which we have seen growing so rapidly boasts as its father the humble Reformer on the shore of Lake Leman.” [197]

Dr. E. W. Smith says, “These revolutionary principles of republican liberty and self-government, taught and embodied in the system of Calvin, were brought to America, and in this new land where they have borne so mighty a harvest were planted, by whose hands?–the hands of the Calvinists. The vital relation of Calvin and Calvinism to the founding of the free institutions of America, however strange in some ears the statement of Ranke may have sounded, is recognized and affirmed by historians of all lands and creeds.” [198]

All this has been thoroughly understood and candidly acknowledged by such penetrating and philosophic historians as Bancroft, who far though he was from being Calvinistic in his own personal convictions, simply calls Calvin “the father of America,” and adds: “He who will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty.”

When we remember that two-thirds of the population at the time of the Revolution had been trained in the school of Calvin, and when we remember how unitedly and enthusiastically the Calvinists labored for the cause of independence, we readily see how true are the above testimonies.

There were practically no Methodists in America at the time of the Revolution; and, in fact, the Methodist Church was not officially organized as such in England until the year 1784, which was three years after the American Revolution closed. John Wesley, great and good man though he was, was a Tory and a believer in political non-resistance. He wrote against the American “rebellion,” but accepted the providential result. McFetridge tells us: “The Methodists had hardly a foothold in the colonies when the war began. In 1773 they claimed about one hundred and sixty members. Their ministers were almost all, if not all, from England, and were staunch supporters of the Crown against American Independence. Hence, when the war broke out they were compelled to fly from the country. Their political views were naturally in accord with those of their great leader, John Wesley, who wielded all the power of his eloquence and influence against the independence of the colonies. (Bancroft, Hist. U.S., Vol. VII, p. 261.) He did not foresee that independent America was to be the field on which his noble Church was to reap her largest harvests, and that in that Declaration which he so earnestly opposed lay the security of the liberties of his followers.” [199]

In England and America the great struggles for civil and religious liberty were nursed in Calvinism, inspired by Calvinism, and carried out largely by men who were Calvinists. And because the majority of historians have never made a serious study of Calvinism they have never been able to give us a truthful and complete account of what it has done in these countries. Only the light of historical investigation is needed to show us how our forefathers believed in it and were controlled by it. We live in a day when the services of the Calvinists in the founding of this country have been largely forgotten, and one can hardly treat of this subject without appearing to be a mere eulogizer of Calvinism. We may well do honor to that Creed which has borne such sweet fruits and to which America owes so much.

8. CALVINISM AND REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT

While religious and civil liberty have no organic connection, they nevertheless have a very strong affinity for each other; and where one is lacking the other will not long endure. History is eloquent in declaring that on a people’s religion ever depends their freedom or their bondage. It is a matter of supreme importance what doctrines they believe, what principles they adopt: for these must serve as the basis upon which the superstructure of their lives and their government rests. Calvinism was revolutionary. It taught the natural equality of men, and its essential tendency was to destroy all distinctions of rank and all claims to superiority which rested upon wealth or vested privilege. The liberty-loving soul of the Calvinist has made him a crusader against those artificial distinctions which raise some men above others.

Politically, Calvinism has been the chief source of modern republican government. Calvinism and republicanism are related to each other as cause and effect; and where a people are possessed of the former, the latter will soon be developed. Calvin himself held that the Church, under God, was a spiritual republic; and certainly he was a republican in theory. James I was well aware of the effects of Calvinism when he said: “Presbytery agreeth as well with the monarchy as God with the Devil.” Bancroft speaks of “the political character of Calvinism, which with one consent and with instinctive judgment the monarchs of that day feared as republicanism.” Another American historian, John Fiske, has written, “It would be hard to overrate the debt which mankind owes to Calvin. The spiritual father of Coligny, of William the Silent, and of Cromwell, must occupy a foremost rank among the champions of modern democracy …. The promulgation of this theology was one of the longest steps that mankind has ever taken toward personal freedom.” [200] Emilio Castelar, the leader of the Spanish Liberals, says that “Anglo-Saxon democracy is the product of a severe theology, learned in the cities of Holland and Switzerland.” Buckle, in his History of Civilization says, “Calvinism is essentially democratic,” (I, 669). And de Tocqueville, an able political writer, calls it “A democratic and republican religion.” [201]

The system not only imbued its converts with the spirit of liberty, but it gave them practical training in the rights and duties as freemen. Each congregation was left to elect its own officers and to conduct its own affairs. Fiske pronounces it, “one of the most effective schools that has ever existed for training men in local serf-government.” [202] Spiritual freedom is the source and strength of all other freedom, and it need cause no surprise when we are told that the principles which governed them in ecclesiastical affairs gave shape to their political views. Instinctively they preferred a representative government and stubbornly resisted all unjust rulers. After religious despotism is overthrown, civil despotism cannot long continue.

We may say that the spiritual republic which was founded by Calvin rests upon four basic principles. These have been summed up by an eminent English statesman and jurist, Sir James Stephen, as follows: “These principles were, firstly that the will of the people was the one legitimate source of the power of the rulers; secondly, that the power was most properly delegated by the people, to their rulers, by means of elections, in which every adult man might exercise the right of suffrage; thirdly, that in ecclesiastical government, the clergy and laity were entitled to an equal and co-ordinate authority; and fourthly that between the Church and State, no alliance, or mutual dependence, or other definite relation, necessarily or properly existed.” [203]

The principle of the sovereignty of God when applied to the affairs of government proved to be very important. God as the supreme Ruler, was vested with sovereignty; and whatever sovereignty was found in man had been graciously granted to him. The scriptures were taken as the final authority, as containing eternal principles which were regulative for all ages and on all peoples. In the following words the Scriptures declared the State to be a divinely established institution: " Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, withstandeth the ordinance of God; and they that withstand shall receive to themselves judgment. For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. And wouldst thou have no fear of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise for the same: for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause ye pay tribute also; for they are ministers of God’s service, attending continually upon this very thing. Render to all their dues; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor," Romans 13:1-7.

No one type of government, however, whether democracy, republic, or monarchy, was thought to be divinely ordained for any certain age or people, although Calvinism showed a preference for the republican type. "Whatever the system of government,' says Meeter, "be it monarchy or democracy or any other form, in each case the ruler (or rulers) was to act as God’s representative, and to administer the affairs of government in accordance with God’s law. The fundamental principle supplied at the same time the very highest incentive for the preservation of law and order among its citizens. Subjects were for God’s sake to render obedience to the higher powers, whichever these might be. Hence Calvinism made for highly stabilized governments."

"On the other hand this very principle of the sovereignty of God operated as a mighty defense of the liberties of the subject citizens against tyrannical rulers. Whenever sovereigns ignored the Will of God, trampled upon the rights of the governed and became tyrannical, it became the privilege and the duty of the subjects, in view of the higher responsibility of the supreme Sovereign, God, to refuse obedience and even, if necessary, to depose the tyrant, through the lesser authorities appointed by God for the defense of the rights of the governed." [204]

The Calvinistic ideas concerning governments and rulers have been ably expressed by J. C. Monsma in the following lucid paragraph: "Governments are instituted by God through the instrumentality of the people. No kaiser or president has any power inherent in himself; whatever power he possesses, whatever sovereignty he exercises, is power and sovereignty derived from the great Source above. No might, but right, and right springing from the eternal Fountain of justice. For the Calvinist it is extremely easy to respect the laws and ordinances of the government. If the government were nothing but a group of men, bound to carry out the wishes of a popular majority, his freedom-loving soul would rebel. But now, to his mind, and according to his fixed belief,–back of the government stands God, and before Him he kneels in deepest reverence. Here also lies the fundamental reason for that profound and almost fanatical love of freedom, also the political freedom, which has always been a characteristic of the genuine Calvinist. The government is God’s servant. That means that AS MEN all government officials stand on an equal footing with their subordinates; have no claim to superiority in any sense whatever For exactly the same reason the Calvinist gives preference to a republican form of government over any other type. In no other form of government does the sovereignty of God, the derivative character of government powers and the equality of men as men, find a clearer and more eloquent expression." [205]

The theology of the Calvinist exalted one Sovereign and humbled all other sovereigns before His awful majesty. The divine right of kings and the infallible decrees of popes could not long endure amid a people who place sovereignty in God alone. But while this theology infinitely exalted God as the Almighty Ruler of heaven and earth and humbled all men before Him, it enhanced the dignity of the individual and taught him that all men as men were equal. The Calvinist feared God; and fearing God he feared nobody else. Knowing himself to have been chosen in the counsels of eternity and marked for the glories of heaven, he possessed something which dissipated the feeling of personal homage for men and which dulled the lustre of all earthly grandeur. If a proud aristocracy traced its lineage through generations of highborn ancestry, the Calvinists, with a loftier pride, invaded the invisible world, and from the book of life brought down the record of the noblest enfranchisement, decreed from eternity by the King of kings. By a higher than any earthly lineage they were heaven’s noblemen because God’s sons and priests, joint heirs with Christ, kings and priests unto God, by a divine anointing and consecration. Put the truth of the sovereignty of God into a man’s mind and heart, and you put iron in his blood. The Reformed Faith has rendered a most valuable service in teaching the individual his rights.

In striking contrast with these democratic and republican tendencies which are found to be inherent in the Reformed Faith we find that Arminianism has a very pronounced aristocratic tendency. In the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches the elder votes in Presbytery or Synod or General Assembly on full equality with his pastor; but in Arminian churches the power is largely in the hands of the clergy, and the laymen have very little real authority. Episcopacy stresses rule by the hierarchy. Arminianism and Roman Catholicism (which is practically Arminian) thrive under a monarchy, but there Calvinism finds its life cramped. On the other hand Romanism especially does not thrive in a republic, but there Calvinism finds itself most at home. An aristocratic form of church government tends toward monarchy in civil affairs, while a republican form of church government tends toward democracy in civil affairs. Says McFetridge, "Arminianism is unfavorable to civil liberty, and Calvinism is unfavorable to despotism. The despotic rulers of former days were not slow to observe the correctness of these propositions, and, claiming the divine right of kings, feared Calvinism as republicanism itself." [206]]

[inserted on November 28, 2011]


Dr. Ian R.K. Paisley (Legendary Preacher of Northern Ireland) on the Papacy's fetish - VIRGIN WORSHIP

[inserted on November 25, 2011]


Tidbits by Pastor Photios on CALVINISM:

In Calvinism, Christ's atonement operates to "save only the elect"; Jesus said "Ye did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go out and bear fruit." (John 15:16) In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul stated: "According as He hath chosen us in Him before (emphasis supplied) the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love; Having predestinated (emphasis supplied) us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." (1:4,5) True believers in Jesus Christ can consider themselves the 'elect'. Those elected are saved, being regenerated and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Some, then, are not saved. But it is still possible under Calvinism for the greater part of humanity to be saved, just some will not be. Calvinism "limits the extent"of the atonement because the Lord did. Jesus and the Apostles constantly refer to "His people". He came to save His people, not the world. There is no injustice in this at all; if you believe in Him you are entitled to be assured that you are of the 'elect'. If you do not want to be His, why should you complain that others are or are not? God chooses who He chooses at His pleasure. He is sovereign thus His decisions are not subject to dispute or review. God offers salvation only on the terms of perfect obedience of His Law, the standard He required of Adam. God is not willing to offer salvation on lower terms, by accepting a lower standard of our obedience. He doesn't offer any standard other than perfect obedience to the law.

The sinless Jesus Christ on the Cross made a full satisfaction for the sins of His people (the elect):

"Divine justice demands that the sinner shall be punished, either in himself or in his substitute. We hold that Christ acted in a strictly substitutionary way for His people (emphasis supplied), that He made a full satisfaction for their sins, thus blotting out the curse from Adam and all their temporal sins; and that by His sinless life (emphasis supplied) He perfectly kept for them the law which Adam had broken, thus earning for His people the reward of eternal life. We believe that the requirement for salvation now as originally is PERFECT OBEDIENCE (bold in original), that the merits of Christ are imputed to His people as the only (emphasis supplied) basis of their salvation, and that they enter heaven clothed only with the cloak of His perfect righteousness and utterly destitute of any merit properly their own (emphasis supplied). Thus grace, PURE GRACE (bold in the original), is extended not in lowering the requirements for salvation but in the substitution (emphasis supplied) of Christ for His people. He took their place before the law and did for them what they could not do for themselves. This Calvinistic principle is fitted in every way to impress upon us the absolute perfection and unchangeable obligation of the law which was originally given to Adam (emphasis supplied). It is not relaxed or set aside, but is fittingly honored so that His excellence is shown (emphasis supplied). In behalf of those who are saved, for whom Christ acted, and in behalf of those who are subjected to everlasting punishment, the law in its majesty is enforced and executed (emphasis supplied)."

[See the free e-book by Loraine Boettner, THE REFORMED DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION
Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1932, (paperback), cited in Chapter XII, LIMITED ATONEMENT, p. 154; see this chapter overall and Chapter XI on UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION. The book is comprehensive as well as spiritually uplifting and strives to answer "The question which faces us then, is, Has God from all eternity foreordained all things which come to pass? If so, what evidence do we have to that effect, and how is the fact consistent with the free agency of rational creatures and with His own perfections?" (Ibid., INTRODUCTION, p. 9.)]

Those elect, effectually called and sanctified by the Holy Spirit working within us, will be saved even if they temporarily deviate into sin:

"Those who have fled to Jesus for refuge have a firm foundation upon which to build. Though floods of error deluge the land, though Satan raise all the powers of earth and all the iniquities of their own hearts against them, they shall never fail; but, persevering to the end, they shall inherit those mansions which have been prepared for them from the foundation of the world. The saints in heaven are happier but no more secure than are true believers here in this world. Since faith and repentance are GIFTS (bold in the original) of God, the bestowing of these gifts is a revelation of God's purpose to save those to whom they are given. It is an evidence that God has predestinated (emphasis supplied) the recipients of these gifts to be conformed to the image of His Son, i.e., to be like Him in character, destiny and glory, and that He will infallibly carry out His purpose. No one can pluck them out of His hands. Those who once (emphasis supplied) become true Christians have within themselves the principle of eternal life, which principle is the Holy Spirit; and since the Holy Spirit dwells within them they are already potentially holy (emphasis supplied). True, they are still exercised by many trials, and they do not yet (emphasis supplied) see what they shall be, but they should know that that which is begun in them shall be completed to the end, and that the very presence of strife within them is the sign of life and the promise of victory (emphasis supplied)." (Id., Chapter XIV THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS, pp. 182-183.)

Loraine Boettner (1901-1990), 'just a layman' (smile) was a very spiritual man of God. His 440 page work (above) is well worth the read, study and application in our daily lives.

[inserted on November 24, 2011]


Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION
(a sermon delivered on Sabbath morning, September 2, 1855)
Please read this in tandem with the article by Dr. Peter Hammond immediately below.

[inserted on November 22, 2011]

Dr. Peter Hammond, South African Evangelist & Director, Frontline Fellowship, THE BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CALVINISM

[inserted on November 20, 2011]


FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"What will it matter a hundred years hence whether we fed on the fat of the land or the poorest of fare, whether we were dressed in silks and satins or the cheapest of garments? But it will matter everything whether or not we fed on the Lamb and were clothed with the robe of His righteousness!" (emphasis supplied)

A.W. Pink (1886-1952), THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT , Chapter Thirty-Three, whilst commenting on Matthew 6:25

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?"

[inserted on November 9, 2011]


GOD CANNOT BE MOCKED!

Dr. Peter Hammond, South African Evangelist & Director, Frontline Fellowship, PRAYING FOR JUSTICE

Courageous South African Evangelist Peter Hammond defends the 'politically-incorrect' Psalms. All namby-pamby so-called pastors and misguided parishioners take note and right your wayward ship or suffer the consequences!

[inserted on November 9, 2011]


OUR VIRTUAL 'DESERT' LIES WITHIN US

Comments by Pastor Photios with citation of South African evangelist Andrew Murray:

We Christian believers who endeavour to walk the road of perfection of our Saviour Jesus Christ must turn inward to our hearts where the Holy Spirit dwells and follow His loving direction. Humble ourselves and be nothing before the Lord! Note the most spiritual words by

ANDREW MURRAY (1828-1917) in his THE INDWELLING SPIRIT (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 2006), Chapter 31, Be Filled With The Spirit, pp. 282-283

"God loves to appear in a humble, unlikely state, to be clothed in the garment of humility, which He expects (emphasis supplied) his children to love and wear. 'The kingdom of heaven is like a seed': Only faith can know what glory there is in its smallness. Likewise was the dwelling of the Son on earth and so the indwelling of the Spirit in the heart (emphasis supplied). He asks that we believe in Him when we see and feel nothing. Believe that the fountain that springs up and flows forth in living streams within you (emphasis supplied), even when all appears to be dry. Take time to retire into the inner chamber of your heart, and from there send up praise and offer worship to God in the assurance of the Holy Spirit within. Take time to be still (emphasis supplied) and realize His presence; let the Spirit himself fill your spirit with this most wonderful truth: He dwells within you (emphasis supplied). Not first in the thoughts or feelings, but in the life-deeper than seeing and feeling, is His temple, His hidden dwelling place (emphasis supplied). When once faith knows that it has what it asks, it can afford to be patient and abound in thanksgiving even where the flesh would murmur. Faith trusts the unseen Jesus and the hidden Spirit. It can believe in that tiny, unlikely seed. It can trust and give glory to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think, and can strengthen the inner man (emphasis supplied) just when all appears weak and ready to faint. Believer, don't expect the fullness of the Spirit to come in a way that your human reasoning devises, but as the coming of the Son of God without form or comeliness, in a way that is folly to human wisdom. Expect the divine strength in great weakness (emphasis supplied); humble yourself to receive the divine wisdom that the Spirit teaches; be willing to be nothing (emphasis supplied), because God chooses 'the things that are not to bring to nothing the things that are.' You will learn not to glory in the flesh but in the Lord. In the deep joy of a life of daily obedience and childlike simplicity, you shall know what it is to be filled with the Spirit (emphasis supplied)."

The kingdom of God is within us. No amount of outward display of religious activity such as attendance at a building, or a certain place, or mere rote recitation of a liturgy can replace the absolute necessity that we begin inwardly and follow the Holy Spirit acting within us. In prayer, we can retreat to our desert within us, our closet, place of privacy where we can meet with our Saviour on a personal basis in the Person of the Holy Spirit. We can pray anywhere and should. Thus, there is no need to go physically anywhere except within ourselves. Although we should admire the spiritual commitment of the desert monks of the fourth century, remember we also carry Christ within our hearts and He is the Church, not merely a designated structure or complex organisation. Christ is the sole way to salvation, and our belief in Him forms the basis upon which the cleansing road to sanctification progresses whilst we are here on earth.

[inserted on November 7, 2011]


CHARLES H. SPURGEON (1834-1892), THE TREASURY OF DAVID

[inserted on November 5, 2011]


A.W. PINK (1886-1952), WHY FOUR GOSPELS?

[inserted on November 5, 2011]


HALLOWEEN AND THE BIBLE

Frontline Fellowship, Cape Town

Comment by Pastor Photios:

DON'T LET YOUR OFFSPRING 'TRICK OR TREAT' IN CELEBRATION OF HALLOWEEN! IF YOU DO, YOU HAVE BLASPHEMED THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHICH, WITHOUT REPENTANCE, IS UNFORGIVABLE!

A True Christian description of this demonic 'celebration'. No Christian should treat this lightly. Parents, straighten up the home, don't take your kids out on October 31st to blaspheme the Lord, which is what this 'holiday' does! Clergy, give your homily/sermon this week on the evils of it! Collaterally, don't sell pumpkins on the church premises or elsewhere! Everyone, don't give the misguided children any so-called treats. Either don't answer the door when they knock; or, smile and in a kind, yet firm, way tell them you don't 'celebrate' something so spiritually alien to Christ Our Lord! If they ask why not, simply refer them to their parents and gently close the door.

Parents again, similarly, don't allow your children to read Harry Potter and other demonically-oriented tales! For those who still don't believe in demons and thus not in God, see today's (October 29, 2011) article by William Peter Blatty, author of THE EXORCIST entitled THE EXORCIST'S' SECRET MESSAGE.

Clergy, if you don't agree with the contents of the article HALLOWEEN AND THE BIBLE, you probably don't agree with the Holy Scripture cited. If so, then perhaps your best bet is simply to leave the ministry, no sense in the blind leading the blind!

The Frontline Fellowship article recommends as an alternative celebrating Reformation Day, a very constructive idea. A lot of us probably never think about the tremendous positive impact it has had on individual freedom and responsible government. America would never have become the "land of the free" without its impact. [I realise this may not be a popular alternative for our Roman Catholic neighbours (smile)!]

[inserted on October 29, 2011]


JOHANN ARNDT (1555-1621), GERMAN LUTHERAN, MYSTIC, AND FORERUNNER OF PIETISM
One of the Orthodox Church's greatest saints, St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (1724-1783) highly regarded his spiritual masterpiece TRUE CHRISTIANITY and recommended it to an inquirer:
"Arndt’s book was very well known to St. Tikhon, who indeed valued it very highly. His letters contain a reference that leaves not the slightest doubt in this regard. As St. Tikhon wrote to an unidentified young nobleman in St. Petersburg:

'There is no more convenient place for you than that what has been indicated: you should move there and begin to read the Holy Bible, with a discussion of the various deeds of God that it presents. And always, morning and night, study it and Arndt; you should only skim other books. And sharpen your mind and your will with respect to what is good; and await the call of God, whether and when God summons you, and thus remain at peace.'8

Hence St. Tikhon placed Arndt directly after the Bible and higher than all 'other' books. " (See the article inserted below on October 22, 2011 by Pavel Khondzinskii entitled “Two Works about True Christianity: St. Tikhon of Zadonsk and Johann Arndt”)

Here is Johann Arndt's Chapter XIX from TRUE CHRISTIANITY, Book III

OF INWARD PRAYER, AND OF THE USE OF THE LORD'S PRAYER

Ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.—Rom. 8:15.

As God operates eminently in humble souls; so the Holy Spirit particularly works in them the gift of filial prayer. Without the Spirit of God there is no true prayer; for he it is that cries and groans in the soul, being, as it were, its life. Rom. 8:26; Gal. 4:6. For as the soul is the life of our body, so is the Spirit of God the life of the soul, being the source of all its spiritual life and strength. This Holy Spirit is also the witness of our adoption and regeneration; and he who knows how to use these as he ought, relying, by faith in Christ and love of the Holy Spirit, upon the eternal love of his heavenly Father, will ask for, and receive great and heavenly gifts. For so great is the love, so abundant the goodness of God, that he can deny nothing to his children, who ask in faith. But as even faith and prayer are the work and gift of God, so we must daily apply ourselves to Him for the same. Hence arises the true internal prayer of the heart, from a true conversion and inclination of our souls and affections to God. This inward prayer pierces the heavens, whilst a man walking in the steps of his Saviour, freely and cheerfully takes up his cross and follows him; not like Simon the Cyrenian, who bore, indeed, the cross, but it was because he was compelled to do it. Matt. 27:32. So great is the love of God, that he does not stay for our prayers; but comes forth freely to meet us, and courts our friendship, entreating us to ask pardon for our sins, and to practise the same love towards our neighbors which he shows towards us. Happy is he, who truly knows, understands, and meditates on this boundless love of God in Jesus Christ. Such a man prays more effectually in his heart, than if he used the most perfect form of words. One single meditation or devout sigh offered up to God by Jesus Christ, in faith, love, and devotion, is more acceptable to God, than all the parade of external worship.

2. The whole life of a Christian ought to be spent in the exercise of love, and in the imitation of his crucified Lord. He properly is a Christian, who does all things from a principle of divine charity, and is transformed by it into the nature of Christ. And can God deny anything to so dutiful, loving, and obedient a child when he prays? No, surely. But that we might know how and for what we ought to ask, Christ has taught us the Lord's Prayer, a prayer full of petitions for the most exalted blessings. Can there be a greater good than the kingdom of God? For he himself is his own kingdom, extending to all rational creatures. So that when we pray, “Thy kingdom come,” we pray that God would please to bestow Himself upon us, with all the riches and blessings of his presence. In this kingdom, therefore, God is our Father, manifesting his paternal love and faithfulness to his children, by erecting his kingdom in us, that therein he may perfect his most noble work in us, expressed in this petition, “Hallowed be thy name;” which is done when the dignity and excellency of the divine name and nature are more deeply discovered in the soul.

3. In this kingdom, which is within us (emphasis supplied), he works his own will, without any impediment. And so his “will is done in earth,” namely, in us, “as it is in heaven,” that is, in God himself. Hence we understand, that what God desires to bestow, and has commanded us to pray for, is nothing less than Himself. This was the promise that he made to Abraham, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Gen. 15:1. Moreover, our Heavenly Father gives us “our daily bread;” that is, he appropriates all his creatures to our use, testifying thereby the greatness of his love towards us. For the heart that is truly devoted to God, and in which he freely executes his own will, is capable of receiving the fulness of his grace and blessings. So great are the goodness, love, and mercy of God, that he can deny us nothing that is necessary either for the body or the soul; and he best knows our necessities. For this end he is daily setting our sins and miseries before our eyes, teaching us to abase ourselves before him, and to pray: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.” For so compassionate is God, that he freely offers us forgiveness of sins, and teaches us how to ask it from the heart; that thereby we may be assured, that he is more ready to forgive, than we are to ask it; and that we may thence learn to exercise the same kindness towards our neighbor, that He exercises towards us. For they that are truly the children of God, exclude no man from their charity, or from the love of God. They have nothing more at heart, than the glory of God, the increase of his kingdom, and the salvation of all men. By this acknowledgment of sin, and petition for pardon, the Christian is taught, that in his natural state he is without God and his kingdom; void of comfort, poor and miserable. And, therefore, he is taught to pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” by which the devil endeavors to draw us from the will and kingdom of God; but that he would “deliver us from evil,” that is, from our own evil will and corrupt nature, which hinder the accomplishment of God's will, and the erecting of his kingdom in us, and deprive him of the honor due unto his name. “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.” Whilst we receive these as coming from him alone, they still continue to be his. But if we do not ascribe them to Him alone, we exclude ourselves from his kingdom, his power, and his glory, not worthily sanctifying his name, nor obeying his will. And hence it follows, that we also are out of his kingdom, and so have no title to remission of sins and deliverance from evil.

[inserted on October 28, 2011]


J. GRESHAM MACHEN

THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH
A Sermon Preached in the Chapel of Princeton Theological Seminary, on Sunday morning, March 10, 1929

Comment by Pastor Photios:

Although this homily was delivered to seminarians at Princeton in 1929, it has even greater spiritual significance to all of us, today, in the closing months of 2011. Its content will speak for itself.

[inserted on October 27, 2011]


CHRIST LEADS US TO SALVATION ALONG THE NARROW WAY:

"Our Lord Jesus Christ spent His earthly life in the greatest humility, subject to constant hardship and maltreatment, persecuted, slandered and libelled by His enemies who finally condemned Him to a shameful death with common criminals. The way of salvation which leads to eternal life is narrow and hard. It is appointed both by our Lord's holy example and by His holy teaching. The Lord foretold to His disciples and followers that in the world, that is, during their earthly life, they would have tribulation, that the world would hate them, that they would be persecuted and killed. The Lord compared the position of His disciples and followers in the midst of vicious humanity to the position of sheep among wolves. From this it is clear that sorrow and suffering are appointed by the Lord Himself for His true slaves and servants during their life on earth. What is appointed by God it is impossible to prevent by any human being, by any kind of wisdom, or prudence, or forethought, or care."

St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) (1807-1867), in his classic, THE ARENA, Chapter 29, p. 94.

[inserted on October 23, 2011]


TRUE CHRISTIANITY

TWO WORKS ABOUT TRUE CHRISTIANITY: ST. TIKHON OF ZADONSK AND JOHANN ARNDT

by

Pavel Khondzinskii
Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii, 2004, no.2: 62-73

[inserted on October 22, 2011]


ENGLAND'S GREATEST PREACHER/EVANGELIST GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770) ON

THE INDWELLING OF THE SPIRIT, THE COMMON PRIVILEGE OF ALL BELIEVERS

BIOGRAPHY OF GEORGE WHITEFIELD

SELECTED SERMONS OF GEORGE WHITEFIELD (59)

[inserted on October 22, 2011]


CONCERNING THE SWORD: A Hutterian Apologia of 1577
[Article IV of the Great Article Book]

[inserted on October 22, 2011]


SIMPLICITY IN THE 'GUILELESS CANDOR OF CHILDHOOD' BEFORE GOD IS THE WAY:

"Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.

If we would find God amid all the religious externals we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity. Now as always God discovers Himself to 'babes' and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to Him. We must strip down to essentials (and they will be found to be blessedly few). We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood. If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond."

A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) The Pursuit of God (1948 - Kindle Locations 151-158).

Comment by Pastor Photios:

These spiritual remarks are even more valid today in 2011 than they were in 1948. Our "religious externals" today are much more dangerous than they were in Pastor Tozer's time of writing "THE PURSUIT OF GOD". Some examples of major problems now are the penchant for megachurches, (the larger they are generally the more heretical [heterodox using the politically correct term, smile] they will be), calling churches by other more 'inoffensive' (more politically correct, i.e., less Christian terminology to further the view that the meeting is really not that Christian and many times this is absolutely true) names to fulfill a worldly purpose, allowing heretical views from the pulpit and instruction classes promoting homosexuality as a way of life, conducting or otherwise supporting same-sex 'ceremonies' or 'blessings' of such abominable sins, supporting the so-called 'right' of a woman to kill her baby within her womb, allowing a forum for and/or actually 'preaching' from the pulpit the view that Christ is not the sole way to salvation, agreeing with secular scholars that Christ is not Divine, similarly disputing the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ; and, of course, let us not forget the usage and manipulation of the mass media including the Internet to label all others as non-Christians who disagree with their worldly unChristian ways. Added to these problems currently is the growth of support, either overt or covert, for 'toleration' of Islamic teachings and opinions in the secular schools whilst at the same time disallowing the same for Christians. In short, surely we must be near to Christ's return. Praise the Lord, it can't be too soon!

No one can predict when He will return, of course, but we know He is coming. Let's prepare ourselves inwardly for His return by following the Holy Spirit's spiritual direction, Who dwells within the believing heart. Let's come to Christ with the innocence of a baby and commit ourselves completely to Him. Our commitment needs to be entire and only to the Triune God. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is an excellent place to begin our inward journey along His Royal Path. Prepare to suffer as He did for us on the Cross. Nothing less is expected of us.

In Christ,

Photios+

[inserted on October 3, 2011]


Pastor Photios:

RATIONALISM VS THE TRUE FAITH OF OUR HEARTS

FIERY MISSIONARY DR. PETER HAMMOND OF SOUTH AFRICA :

WHY DOES GOD NOT STOP ALL THE SUFFERING?

Dr. Peter Hammond
Director
Frontline Fellowship

Dr. Hammond is as spiritually tough as they come. All his works I have read are punches right in the 'face' of the Evil One! Google his name and you will see what I mean.

His website is Frontline Fellowship

[inserted on September 30, 2011]


TRUE GODLINESS

by

Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769), German Pietist:

TRUE GODLINESS

Recommendation by Pastor Photios:

It should be spiritually beneficial to read TRUE GODLINESS in tandem with the article immediately below.

[inserted on September 28, 2011]


"ORGANISATION" OVER THE CENTURIES HAS SUCCEEDED IN DEVIATING US FROM THE TRUE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD: LOOK INWARD AS OUR REMEDY:

"To sum up, my feeling is briefly aimed therein that one must seek Jesus in one's heart as the only true foundation of salvation and the heart must be completely purified through the true living faith in Jesus. In case it is wished to perform in true singleness of heart also those outward actions which the first Christians did in addition of these inner unmovable bases, I cannot consider this a mortal sin, if one only remains in impartial love toward those who cannot feel in their minds this necessity for those outward acts. The freedom of Christ suffers neither force nor laws."

Ernst Christoph Hochmann von Hochenau (1670-1721), Radical Pietist

"That which the Holy Spirit ordained for the faithful was written outwardly. All believers are united in it, for the Holy Spirit teaches them inwardly (emphasis supplied) just as the Scriptures teach them outwardly.... Therefore, when a believing person whose inner ears are opened reads the Holy Scriptures outwardly, he will hear as the Lord Jesus intends His teaching to be understood. He hears that which the apostles want to express in their writings. He will also be impelled, through his inner hearing, to true obedience which makes him obey even in outward matters. Outwardly, he reads the Scriptures in faith and hears the inner word of life which gives him strength and power to follow Jesus."

Alexander Mack (1679-1735), also a Radical Pietist, founder of the Brethren Movement but more inclined to the church as an organisation as long as it was faithful to the ordinances of Christ in the New Testament period than Pietist Hochmann. The latter was more disposed to experience Christianity individually.

The two quotes above were taken from Vernard Eller's KIERKEGAARD AND RADICAL DISCIPLESHIP 4

Comment by Pastor Photios:

Throughout Christian history church organisations have a tendency to mimic this world not that of Christ's (His is not of this world), the results being bloodbaths and massacres that so violate the spirit and truth of Our Saviour. At the same time, less violent, but more subtle perhaps, compromising of the true Gospel by such organisations seeking power and wealth jettisons the spiritual commandments of Christ for a more flexible, indeed, heretical view of Christianity. No ecclesial grouping, including holy Orthodoxy, has been immune from such blasphemy. Self, pride, vanity, have taken center stage in organised churches and continue to do so. Humility, the linchpin of Christ's teaching, many times is ridiculed as weakness and pride in one's own accomplishments in this world, not one's spiritual worth within his or her heart, replaces God.

In these nominally Christian (at the most) groupings, striving for the things of this world such as money, status, power, dominance over the poor in spirit (the latter who are blessed, remember!) take center stage over things of the heart. We counsel our children incessantly about choosing the just right career to maximise their earnings and opportunities. But when was the last time, you, as parents, sat down with your children and spoke to them as Christ would, stressing to them that what matters in this world for Christians is how strong our faith is in the Lord. Is it strong enough, to the point where we will sacrifice our lives as He did for us rather than abandon Christ; that we know God by how we deal with others, others being our neighbours, that we love our enemies, however difficult this may be to do in actual practise. Remember, that any person can change and come to Jesus Christ. Saul, one of the greatest of persecutors, became the Apostle Paul. A modern day example came up on the Fox Network last night. It involved the faith of an interestingly named Machine Gun Preacher, legal name, Sam Childers. The report indicated that he had begun life in a desperate state, becoming a drug user, dealer, violent dude and all around 'bad hombre'. Yet, God came into his life and turned him around. Now he is known far and wide as a true missionary to the orphaned children of Southern Sudan and that beleaguered area of the world, rescuing children from enslavement. Actor Gerald Butler plays his role in the new film "Machinegun Preacher" just released on September 23rd of this year. At the moment, it is in limited release only in New York and Los Angeles (is that because these two places need it the most?), but if it is eventually released to a wider audience, let's all try to see it. Childers was interviewed by Fox and is quite a guy obviously. Yet, had Jesus not turned around his life, he would probably either be dead or in prison for life. If you are nearer to the way he was before experiencing Christ, you can change right now! Just do it and the Holy Spirit will guide you through all the pitfalls. No problem!

Clerics, Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestants, in particular, 'bishops' often demonstrate more 'worldliness' than selflessness. They talk about being 'elevated' in terms of promotion with the attendant 'status' they presume it carries. But Jesus came for the lowly sinners, the poor in spirit, not the righteous. Jesus wore no finery, nor did James the Just or any of the other apostles. Jesus rode on a donkey, a lowly animal. The Bishop of Rome wears elaborate expensive jewelry and frilly 'outfits' and the hierarchy in Orthodoxy love their vestments and mitres, etc.

Q: Ever hear of a modern bishop who voluntarily surrendered his bishopric? Don't some of them at least think of rank as a sinecure, something to which they are entitled? Not all, mind you, but...

Q: Whatever happened to the central message of Christianity - suffering as He suffered for us?

Q: Why does one grouping throw out the 'spiritual' tyrants (e.g., Protestants reacting against the evils of Rome, replacing it with Lutheranism, the Reform of Calvin Etc.) and then, the new guys on the block become the state church and begin to persecute other religious sects in a similar manner and in some cases even worse than was committed by Rome?

Q: Isn't the problem here the organisation? Isn't it perhaps time to go into our hearts and work on ourselves and stay away from the infected organisation(s) that like to claim the only true faith but their own hierarchy and members many times 'talk the talk but don't walk the walk'?

The Kingdom of God is within us. The Holy Spirit indwells in us and guides our way. This is all we need. Throw ourselves on God's mercy and let Him do with us what He will. By all means, obey Christ's commandments, but, arguably, you need to change inwardly first. When you do, obedience to His commandments will come because of your love for Him; correspondingly, adherence to the true doctrine(s) of Christ follows because the Holy Spirit is your rudder on the Ship of Christ.

May the Lord bless all of us along our spiritual journey to Him!

Pastor Photios

[inserted on September 27, 2011]


NOT MORE THAN ONE BAPTISM AND IT MUST SIGNIFY OUR BELIEF IN THE HOLY TRINITY

"So then, as our Lord died once for all, we also must be baptized once for all, and baptized according to the Word of the Lord, 'In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.'... But those who were not baptized into the Holy Trinity, these must be baptized again.... The baptism then into Christ means that believers are baptized into Him. We could not believe in Christ if we were not taught confession in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For Christ is the Son of the Living God, Whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit.... Christ taught His own disciples the invocation and said, 'Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit'."

by Saint John of Damascus (c. 676-749)
[He studied the writings of the Early Church Fathers and compiled the extremely well-received Classic on Christian doctrine], AN EXACT EXPOSITION OF THE ORTHODOX FAITH, Post Nicene Fathers, Schaff Edition Volume IX (tr. by The Rev. S.D.F. Salmond, Principal of the Free Chuch College, Aberdeen, 1898.), BOOK IV, Chapter IX., Concerning Faith and Baptism.

Furthermore:

"Now we are baptized into the Holy Spirit because those things which are baptized have need of the Holy Trinity for their maintenance and continuance, and the three subsistences cannot be otherwise than present, the one with the other. For the Holy Trinity is indivisible (emphasis supplied)." [Ibid.]

Comment by Pastor Photios:

If a purporting Christian grouping professes Christ but not the Holy Trinity, it is not Christian at all.

[inserted on September 20, 2011]


MYSTIC AND QUAKER FOUNDER GEORGE FOX ON THE DIVINE LIGHT OF CHRIST

"Now the Lord God opened to me by His invisible power that every man was enlightened by the Divine Light of Christ, and I saw it shine through all; and that they that believed in it came out of condemnation to the Light of life, and became the children of it; but they that hated it, and did not believe in it were condemned by it, though they made a profession of Christ. This I saw in the pure openings of the Light without the help of any man; neither did I then know where to find it in the Scriptures; though afterwards, searching the Scriptures, I found it. For I saw, in that Light and Spirit which was before the Scriptures were given forth, and which led the holy men of God to give them forth, that all, if they would know God or Christ, or the Scriptures aright, must come to that Spirit by which they that gave them forth were led and taught.

On a certain time, as I was walking in the fields, the Lord said unto me, 'Thy name is written in the Lamb's book of life, which was before the foundation of the world': and as the Lord spoke it, I believed, and saw in it the new birth. Some time after the Lord commanded me to go abroad into the world, which was like a briery, thorny wilderness. When I came in the Lord's mighty power with the Word of life into the world, the world swelled and made a noise like the great raging waves of the sea. Priests (ed:those who are paid to preach) and professors (ed: nominal Christians), magistrates and people, were all like a sea when I came to proclaim the day of the Lord amongst them, and to preach repentance to them.

I was sent to turn people from darkness to the Light, that they might receive Christ Jesus; for to as many as should receive Him in His Light, I saw He would give power to become the sons of God; which power I had obtained by receiving Christ. I was to direct people to the Spirit that gave forth the Scriptures, by which they might be led into all truth, and up to Christ and God, as those had been who gave them forth.

Yet I had no slight esteem of the holy Scriptures. They were very precious to me; for I was in that Spirit by which they were given forth; and what the Lord opened in me I afterwards found was agreeable to them. I could speak much of these things, and many volumes might be written about them; but all would prove too short to set forth the infinite love, wisdom, and power of God, in preparing, fitting, and furnishing me for the service to which He had appointed me; letting me see the depths of Satan on the one hand, and opening to me, on the other hand, the divine mysteries of His own everlasting kingdom.

When the Lord God and His Son Jesus Christ sent me forth into the world to preach His everlasting gospel and kingdom, I was glad that I was commanded to turn people to that inward (emphasis supplied) Light, Spirit, and Grace, by which all might know their salvation and their way to God; even that Divine Spirit which would lead them into all truth, and which I infallibly (ed: see fn 48 - by this he does not mean any man's infallibility 'but rather the infallibility of the Spirit, in union with which a man may know that he pleases God') knew would never deceive any."

George Fox (1624-1691), THE AUTOBIOGRAPY OF GEORGE FOX

Comment by Pastor Photios:

George Fox seems similar to both St. John the Baptist and St. Paul. His wanderings throughout England, Scotland and Wales and continual struggles and strife, with rampant persecutions and jailings, whilst preaching the call to holiness as Christ did, his living with little food at time and none at others, sleeping rough, being beaten by the treacherous hypocrites who pursued him throughout his journeys, should remind all of us that we are meant to suffer as Christ did. George Fox was a resolute spiritual man; it was thought that when he said "verily" this was to mean that nothing could deviate him from whatever his spiritual resolve then was for Jesus Christ.

We, all of us, need a lot of George Fox in us. His spiritual courage and determination in the face of all the odds he confronted in his travels are reminiscent of the persecutions of the ancient Church martyrs. Many thought he was a prophet as, apparently, he did. Read this work and experience his pain as well as his exhilaration in preaching Christ up and down the country. Then work on your call to holiness; after all, the Kingdom of God is within you (Lk 17:21). The Lord's Kingdom is other-worldly, not of this world, which is of the devil. The kingdom of the Lord is always here, it is within us. Blessed Theophylact, writing for the collective witness of the ancient Orthodox Church states:

"The kingdom of God is always present for him who desires and wills it. When a man's disposition and way of life are like that of an angel, most assuredly this is the kingdom of God. For God indeed is said to rule as King when nothing worldly meddles in the governing of our souls and when in every respect we live not of this world. This manner of life we have within us, that is to say, we have it within us when we desire and will it. We do not need to wait a long time, or until our departure from this life; instead, faith and a God-pleasing life which accompanies faith are very near to us. The Apostle said the same thing: The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith (Rom. 10:8). To have faith, and, together with faith, to walk in a manner of our calling, is indeed something within us." THE EXPLANATION BY BLESSED THEOPHYLACT OF THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE (tr. from the original Greek by Fr. Christopher Stade, Chrysostom Press, House Springs, MO, 1997), Chapter 17, p. 226.

May the Lord strengthen our resolve to stand in the breech for Him as did Mystic Quaker George Fox and all the martyrs of His Church. [inserted on September 20, 2011]


FIERY MISSIONARY DR. PETER HAMMOND OF SOUTH AFRICA ON THE EVIL OF SLAVERY:

SLAVERY TODAY AND SETTING THE CAPTIVES FREE

Dr. Peter Hammond
Director
Frontline Fellowship

Dr. Hammond is as spiritually tough as they come. All his works I have read are punches right in the 'face' of the Evil One! Google his name and you will see what I mean.

His website is Frontline Fellowship

[inserted on September 20, 2011]


A CALL FOR AMERICANS TO WAKE UP AND COME TO JESUS BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!

Comments by Pastor Photios:

True Christians are not to engage in idolatry. How do we measure up to this absolute requirement? Not well at all. We manufacture idols to 'worship' and pursue in lieu of, as substitutes for, the way of Christ. American idolatry takes the principal form(s) of the "self," "me first," "me," or perhaps even "me, never you"! What has happened to God in our society, which, incidentally, was founded on Christian principles? How often do we hear the name "Jesus" aloud in any other way than as a form of swear word?

Contemporary America, following the lead, apparently, of wimpy secular Europe, marches to the drum of this world, that of the Evil One. In the main, our leaders have no stomach for the meek and humble, yet all powerful Jesus. In this stance, they parrot the faithlessness of the Jews who waited (and are still doing so) for their antiChrist. They were waiting for a physical, not spiritual warrior, a heroic non-Christian Constantine the Great type.

Teaching Christianity in our public schools is generally not allowed, but several cases lately in the USA suggest that a quite different standard is to be applied to non Christians. Unbelievable, isn't it? The nation of true freedom, where millions of oppressed peoples have jammed our borders and continue to do so in flights from their ruthless regimes across the world, is perhaps not quite as trustworthy for such future streamings of freedom-seeking people, particularly, when it is becoming clearer and clearer that we have lost our way and no longer value our Godgiven freedoms as our great forefathers did.

A vocal Christian is a true one in the sense that all Christians are required not to stand mute about their allegiance to Christ, but, rather, to stand and deliver the true Faith to others. If you appear on a local or national television show, and, in reply to a question about the sanctity and meaning of marriage, you defend the biblical principle of marriage within God's context of a man and a woman, you will be immediately vilified by the media and other 'representatives' of this world, Satan's, not Christ's.

If you openly declare yourself to be a born again Christian and furthermore support the right to life as Jesus and His Church have always done (thus you oppose abortion for the willful murder that God says that it is - See my homily ABORTION IS WILLFUL MURDER!), you will be subject to great ridicule and accusations of, again, what else other than 'intolerance'. The multi millions of murdered babies means nothing compared to the fictitious woman's right to choose. In True Christianity, no one has the 'right' to murder an innocent baby in the womb.

What kind of pathetic self-seeking society have we become? We are busy substituting the idolatry of self interest for the true wisdom and moral fiber of Christ's Way. Our present Christianity bares little resemblance to the Way of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The next time you get a 'hankering' to abort your child or commit any other sin or sins, ask yourself "What Would Jesus Do?" And if you doubt that Jesus Christ is Who He said He was and all its spiritual ramifications, immerse yourself in the Gospel of John, the most spiritually spellbinding of the Gospels. When you do, you will come across the following Scripture:

"And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto Him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me (emphasis supplied) (John 14.4-6)."

Our Lord is stating His sole authority to bring the disciples to the Father. Blessed Theophylact, writing for all the true Fathers of His Church summarises what He meant by these words:

"Christ reveals the way and destination, and shows that it is simple to come with Him: 'I am the way, and I am going to the Father. Follow Me and you will surely ascend to the Father as well. I am also the truth, so be assured that I am not deceiving you. Furthermore, I am the life, not even death can prevent you from reaching the Father. Take courage, therefore: by Me, every man cometh unto the Father. There is NO (capitals supplied) other way to get there except by Me. I have SOLE AUTHORITY AND POWER (capitals supplied) to bring you to the Father, and I promise that you will indeed reach Him.' (Bl. Theophylact continues:) Learn from this, O reader, that the Son is equal to the Father. On a different occasion, Jesus testified that we are led to Him by the Father: No man can come to me except the Father ... draw him [Jn. 6:44]. And now He declares that He leads us to the Father. This shows that the Father and the Son are EQUAL IN POWER AND SHARE A SINGLE DIVINE ENERGY (capitals supplied). When you follow the path of active virtue, Christ is the way. When you practice divine contemplation, He is the truth. But many have done both yet failed to obtain life. Either they practiced virtue in order to impress men (and so received their reward in this life), or they became conceited about their knowledge of doctrines and strayed from the right path. Therefore, to the way and the truth- the paths of active virtue and divine contemplation - the Lord adds life. Ignoring the deadly praise of men, let us follow the path and adhere to the doctrines leading to Him Who is life immortal. "

Blessed Theophylact, THE EXPLANATION OF THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN (translated from the original Greek by Fr. Christopher Stade), Volume IV in the series: Blessed Theophylact's Explanation of the New Testament, (House Springs, MO: Chrysostom Press, 2007), Chapter Fourteen, 4-6, pp. 224-225.

About the author:

"The author of this remarkable commentary is an eleventh century Byzantine churchman of great learning and piety, who served in Constantinople as a royal tutor, archdeacon, renowned preacher of the Gospel, and assistant to the patriarch. About the year 1090 A.D. he was sent to the distant city of Ochrid, the capital of the Bulgarian kingdom, to serve as archbishop of the Bulgarian Church. It was there, in the southwestern Balkans, that he wrote these commentaries, restating in clear and profound language that which has always and everywhere been taught by the Church concerning the meaning of the Gospels and Epistles (emphasis supplied)." [Ibid., INTRODUCTION, p. 1.]

What America needs now are millions and millions of hearts in revival for Christ. Narrow is the way to Him. You can't get to Him via the broad path, no matter how much rationalising you do about it. Christ is the sole route to salvation. If you reject Him, He will reject you. Think about it and then change your way of life, come to Him in humility, repent, ask His forgiveness, do all this in the way a child would, innocently, trusting in the Lord to show you His Way. Then live your life day by day struggling and suffering for Him as He did for you on the Cross. Be prepared to give your life for Christ. Make these decisions NOW. Your eternal life depends on it.

May the Lord bless America and bring her children back to the right path.

In Christ,

Pastor Photios

[inserted on August 20, 2011]


A CHILLING CONTRAST TO THE MESSAGE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST:

RELIGIOUS KILLINGS IN INDONESIAN SMALL TOWN

[inserted on August 11, 2011]


IN 2011, SINNERS (I.E., ALL OF US) DESPERATELY NEED THE EVANGELISTIC SPIRITUAL GIFTS OF ENGLAND'S GREATEST PREACHER, GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770)

Bp. J.C. Ryle, GEORGE WHITEFIELD & HIS MINISTRY

[inserted on August 2, 2011]


THERE IS A MOTHER'S LOVE AND THEN, OF COURSE, THERE ARE THOSE WHO MURDER

"Now the strongest human love that we know of is a mother's love . Many things will separate a man from his wife. A father may turn his back on his child; brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies; husbands may desert their wives; wives, their husbands. But a mother's love endures through all. In good repute, in bad repute, in the face of the world's condemnation, a mother loves on, and hopes that her child may turn from his evil ways and repent. She remembers the infant smiles, the merry laugh of childhood, and the promise of youth. Death cannot quench a mother's love; it is stronger than death."

D.L. Moody (1837-1899), THE OVERCOMING LIFE, The Way to God, Chapter 1, Love that Passeth Knowledge (Bridge-Logos, Alachua, FL, 2007), p. 196.

Comments from Pastor Photios:

The famous American Evangelist D.L. Moody wrote the above in about 1884. We can all see how things have changed in 2011 - and not for the better. Today, millions of 'mothers' have murdered their children within their wombs by participating in the abominable sin of an abortion. Shame on those who have done so. You should fall down on your knees, repent of your actions and pray to the Lord for forgiveness. Then you should strongly consider being a spiritual soldier for your forgotten and legally discriminated against victims. Regardless of secular legalisation of such a monstrous crime, God's position is crystal clear - abortion is willful murder and obviously a terrible sin. If you do not repent, you all are going to hell.

See my homily ABORTION IS WILLFUL MURDER!

[inserted on July 31, 2011]


OBEDIENCE UNTIL DEATH (Philippians 2: 8)

"To determine to be obedient unto death is a strength in the young Christian. It is at once the beauty and the glory of Christ. A share in His obedience is the highest blessing He has to give. The desire for and the surrender to it are possible to even the youngest believer."

See Andrew Murray (1828-1917), THE PRACTICE OF GOD'S PRESENCE 7-in-1 Anthology, Book Seven: The Blessings of Obedience, Chapter 5 (Whitaker House, New Kensington, PA, 2000), p. 538.

Comments from Pastor Photios:

Are we all obedient enough to physically die for Our Lord Jesus Christ as He died for us? Is there anything that average Americans, other than our courageous soldiers in harm's way as this is written, believe is worth dying for? What do we really believe in anymore in this world? I use "this world" as the secular one of the Devil as opposed to what is not of this world, Our Lord's.

Well, such martyrdoms in America are more common than one would suppose although not widespread. For example, a few years ago in Pennyslvania, a shooter committed a massacre against the peaceloving forgiving Amish people. One of the young girls confronted the attacker and told him to shoot her instead of another young person. So, he brutally shot her. She died a martyr for Christ regardless of her Amish background- surely we can all agree with this assertion? In another case I know about from my area of the country, two young people in love were accosted by a shooter and the man was shot to death as he knelt and prayed to the Lord (then the woman was brutally raped):

He died for Jesus Christ without rejecting Him. She suffered in agony an indignation that will haunt her for the rest of her days, but, in her own way, she was also martyred for Him.

Martyrs for Christ abound in areas of Christian persecution in this world, where His people who teach only meekness and humility in service to Him are hunted down like dogs, tortured mercilessly, women gang raped-then killed, some beheaded or hacked to death with machetes or other instruments of evil, and children massacred. Yet, these simple people never reject Christ. They go to their physical deaths but to their spiritual glory with God's name on their lips.

As the secular American culture continues to spit out all that is good, innocent and, in particular, Christian principles and behaviour, there may come a time when such evil persecutions begin here. It is not a very long step from legal and cultural discrimination to duress and subtle or more obvious 'Final Solutions' for devout Christians. Will our obedience to God stand and deliver if and when that time comes?

As we pray tonight privately to Our Lord, remember to add words of submission in obedience to Him unto death, promising complete surrender and yielding of ourselves to Him. He will respond and protect our souls. Jesus was obedient to His Father unto death on the Cross. As His Followers, we must be obedient unto death in the Faith, like the young man kneeling in prayer to the Lord seconds before his life was snuffed out by an evil act...

[inserted on July 30, 2011]


THE TRUE CHRISTIAN ROAD TO KNOWLEDGE IS A CONTINUING STRUGGLE AS WE DIRECTLY COMMUNE WITH THE HOLY TRINITY

"There is only one way to knowledge, the one which God has marked through the centuries. It is not a way of syllogisms but a way of life, because truth is not a system of philosophical theories but a personal existence: I am the Way, the Truth, the Life.

But in order for one to walk this road, it is not sufficient to say and believe that one is a Christian. Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Something else is necessary: the lifelong struggle of the Christian, and that is purity of heart, which renders man worthy to receive the illumination of the Holy Spirit. All the moral and ascetic struggles of Christianity are aimed at this purity of the heart (emphasis supplied), with the purpose of the indwelling of the Holy Trinity in man. Whoever loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him.

This direct communion with the Holy Trinity, this contact with divinity, the revelation of God, is knowledge. It alone (emphasis supplied) enlightens man. It gives him to understand what God is and His creation."

Lay Orthodox Theologian Dr. Alexandre Kalomiros, in his classic AGAINST FALSE UNION (St. Nectarios Press, Seattle, WA, 1978, Second Edition, Revised Appendix , 2000), Chapter Two, XXI., THE LIGHT, pp. 40-41.

[inserted on July 28, 2011]


OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AND HIS CHRISTIANITY ARE NOT SUBJECT TO IMPROVEMENT, SO INNOVATORS (I.E., FALSE TEACHERS) 'HANDS OFF!'!

"The Christian religion, like its Founder, first of all, is complete, harmonious, and all-embracing. There are no deficiencies in it, and it is not subject to improvement. It is (emphasis supplied) ideal. Only the Christian himself is subject to improvement, without limits. The ideal of his perfection is endless. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5: 48)."

Professor I.M. Andreyev (Catacomb True Orthodox, 1894-1976), ORTHODOX APOLOGETIC THEOLOGY, (St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, CA, 1995) The Essence of Christianity, pp. 159-160.

[inserted on July 24, 2011]


THE SPIRITUAL EFFECT OF HUMILITY

"It isn't enough to separate yourself from the world's ways. You must also allow humility to be formed within (emphasis supplied) you". Separation from the world means turning away from external things. When humility is formed in you, then you will turn away from your own self-nature.

... Put aside your self-interest, and simply let God's will unfold around you. Everything He does for you is for your own good."

Abp. Fenelon (1651-1715), French Mystic and friend of Madame Guyon, for which he paid a heavy price, THE SEEKING HEART, Volume 4, Library of Spiritual Classics, SeedSowers Publishing, Jacksonville, Florida, pp. 46-47.

[inserted on July 11, 2011]


A FATHER OF THE TRUE CHURCH, LIBYAN PRIEST AND ABBOT, WHO WAS A PERSONAL FRIEND OF ST. MAXIMOS THE CONFESSOR:

" Hardship and humility save the soul and free it from all the passions."

St. Thalassios in THE PHILOKALIA, Volume II (compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth) [Faber and Faber Limited, London, Paperback Edition first published in 1990], Third Century, # 72, p. 323.

[inserted on July 5, 2011]


HYPOCRITES

WHAT ABOUT HYPOCRITES IN THE CHURCH?

Dr. Peter Hammond
Director
Frontline Fellowship

Dr. Hammond is as spiritually tough as they come. All his works I have read are punches right in the 'face' of the Evil One! Google his name and you will see what I mean.

His website is Frontline Fellowship

[inserted on July 5, 2011]


GUTENBERG EBOOK OF TRUE CHRISTIANITY BY JOHANN ARNDT (Books I-IV, 920 pages) :

TRUE CHRISTIANITY

[inserted on July 1, 2011]


DON'T JUST ADMIRE CHRIST: BE A FOLLOWER- HIS DISCIPLE! (a much different matter)

"It is well known that Christ consistently used the expression 'follower.' He never asks for admirers, worshippers, or adherents. No, he calls disciples. It is not adherents of a teaching but followers of a life Christ is looking for.

Christ understood that being a 'disciple' was in innermost and deepest harmony with what he said about himself. Christ claimed to be the way and the truth and the life (Jn. 14:6). For this reason, he could never be satisfied with adherents who accepted his teaching – especially with those who in their lives ignored it or let things take their usual course. His whole life on earth, from beginning to end, was destined solely to have followers and to make admirers impossible.

Christ came into the world with the purpose of saving, not instructing it. At the same time – as is implied in his saving work – he came to be the pattern, to leave footprints for the person who would join him, who would become a follower. This is why Christ was born and lived and died in lowliness. It is absolutely impossible for anyone to sneak away from the Pattern with excuse and evasion on the basis that It, after all, possessed earthly and worldly advantages that he did not have. In that sense, to admire Christ is the false invention of a later age, aided by the presumption of 'loftiness.' No, there is absolutely nothing to admire in Jesus, unless you want to admire poverty, misery, and contempt.

What then, is the difference between an admirer and a follower? A follower is or strives to be what he admires. An admirer, however, keeps himself personally detached. He fails to see that what is admired involves a claim upon him, and thus he fails to be or strive to be what he admires.

To want to admire instead of to follow Christ is not necessarily an invention by bad people. No, it is more an invention by those who spinelessly keep themselves detached, who keep themselves at a safe distance. Admirers are related to the admired only through the excitement of the imagination. To them he is like an actor on the stage except that, this being real life, the effect he produces is somewhat stronger. But for their part, admirers make the same demands that are made in the theater: to sit safe and calm. Admirers are only all too willing to serve Christ as long as proper caution is exercised, lest one personally come in contact with danger. As such, they refuse to accept that Christ’s life is a demand. In actual fact, they are offended at him. His radical, bizarre character so offends them that when they honestly see Christ for who he is, they are no longer able to experience the tranquillity they so much seek after. They know full well that to associate with him too closely amounts to being up for examination (emphasis supplied). Even though he 'says nothing' against them personally, they know that his life tacitly judges theirs.

And Christ’s life indeed makes it manifest, terrifyingly manifest, what dreadful untruth it is to admire the truth instead of following it. When there is no danger, when there is a dead calm, when everything is favorable to our Christianity, it is all too easy to confuse an admirer with a follower. And this can happen very quietly. The admirer can be in the delusion that the position he takes is the true one, when all he is doing is playing it safe (emphasis supplied). Give heed, therefore, to the call of discipleship!"

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) [zealous Christian who through his writings and life challenged himself and all others to truly follow Christ], PROVOCATIONS SPIRITUAL WRITINGS OF KIERKEGAARD, Part II, TRUTH AND THE PASSION OF INWARDNESS, Chapter 23, Followers not Admirers, pp. 85-86.

“Copyright 2007 by Plough Publishing House. Used with permission.”

Plough Publishing House

[inserted on June 26, 2011]


THE REQUIRED WAY TO UNION WITH GOD

"For no man ever yet came to the fountain of living truth, but by the way of humility and poverty of spirit, arising from a knowledge of his utter unworthiness. He that understands this, will never think contempt, reproaches, poverty, or the cross, either bitter or irksome to him. Yea, rather with the holy apostles, he rejoices that God has thought him worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41), so that God in his glory may enter into his soul in his misery. Hence the truest and safest way of coming to a union with God, is that of deep humility and true poverty of spirit."

Johann Arndt, TRUE CHRISTIANITY, BOOK III., Chapter V. # 1.

[inserted on June 20, 2011]


Fr. Dr. Photios, OUR SPIRITUAL LADDER LIES WITHIN US!

[inserted on June 15, 2011]


Dr. Peter Hammond, Director of Frontline Fellowship in South Africa,
WHEN ALL MEN SPEAK WELL OF YOU

Dr. Hammond is as spiritually tough as they come. All his works I have read are punches right in the 'face' of the Evil One! Google his name and you will see what I mean.

His website is Frontline Fellowship

[inserted on June 4, 2011]


FOR THOSE WHO MIGHT HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT CHRIST'S RESURRECTION

"When we believe that Jesus rose from the dead and lives, we win for ourselves eternal life. He arose and is alive for our sake. But whoever imagines that Christ is dead and did not rise from the grave has no life in him. Indeed, by thinking this he confirms and ensures his own eternal death and corruption (emphasis supplied)."

Blessed Theophylact, THE EXPLANATION OF THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN (translated from the original Greek by Fr. Christopher Stade), Volume IV in the series: Blessed Theophylact's Explanation of the New Testament, (House Springs, MO: Chrysostom Press, 2007), p. 303.

About the author:

"The author of this remarkable commentary is an eleventh century Byzantine churchman of great learning and piety, who served in Constantinople as a royal tutor, archdeacon, renowned preacher of the Gospel, and assistant to the patriarch. About the year 1090 A.D. he was sent to the distant city of Ochrid, the capital of the Bulgarian kingdom, to serve as archbishop of the Bulgarian Church. It was there, in the southwestern Balkans, that he wrote these commentaries, restating in clear and profound language that which has always and everywhere been taught by the Church concerning the meaning of the Gospels and Epistles (emphasis supplied)." [Ibid., INTRODUCTION, p. 1.]

[inserted on June 4, 2011]


Fr. Photios, LOVE

[inserted on May 27, 2011]


EMPTINESS MUST PRECEDE THE FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT

Photios: The Holy Spirit dwells in each of us and guides us in God's love, the new commandment by Jesus in the New Testament that we are to love each other as Christ loves us:
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (St. John 13: 34)
Yet, we must be empty before we can be full of the Spirit. This fullness does not occur instantaneously but is a process. South African Pastor Andrew Murray (1828-1917) states:

"Remember, the first condition of filling is emptiness. What is a reservoir but a great hollow space-an emptiness-prepared, waiting, thirsting for the water to come. Any true abiding fullness of the Spirit is preceded by emptying. 'I sought the blessing long and earnestly,' said one, 'and I wondered why it did not come. At last I found it was because there was no room in my heart to receive it.' In such emptying there are various elements involved: a deep dissatisfaction with the 'religion' we have had until now. A deep consciousnesss of how much there has been of wisdom and work of the flesh. A discovery, confession, and giving up of all in life that has been kept under our own management, in which self has had control, of all in which we had not thought it necessary that Jesus be consulted or pleased. A deep conviction of our inability and utter helplessness to grasp or claim what has been offered. And finally a surrender in poverty of spirit to wait on the Lord for His great mercy and power. According to the riches of His glory, He will strengthen us by His Spirit in the inner (emphasis supplied) man. We need a great longing, thirsting, waiting, praying without ceasing, for the Father to fulfill His promise and to take full possession of us.

Together with this, we need the faith that accepts, receives and maintains the gift. It is through faith in Christ and the Father that the divine fullness will flow into us. Of the same Ephesians to whom the command was given 'Be filled with the Spirit,' Paul said, 'In Christ, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.'"

Andrew Murray, THE INDWELLING SPIRIT (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2006) [previously published as THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST], pp. 280-281.

[inserted on May 26, 2011]


NOTICE FROM PHOTIOS:

In my spiritual journey, it has become clear to me that I cannot remain within Orthodoxy as it has developed in the twentieth and twenty first centuries: hierarchical, many times despotic and institutionally narrowminded and meanspirited as well as major parts of it having diverged from the True Orthodoxy of the Scriptures, Tradition, and the Fathers into cesspools of ecumenism, the latter a heresy which would make Arianism seem relatively tame by comparison. The hierarchical 'problem' seems spiritually insurmountable. Hardly any so-called traditional jurisdiction recognises other traditional Orthodox ones. 'Fights' continually break out 'at the top' of hierarchical pyramids between self-climbers on the way, apparently, to secular, not spiritual, glory, jousting for being the 'top dog,' 'leader of the pack' so to speak, emphasising accumulating titles and 'progression' from bishop to archbishop to metropolitan etc (being 'elevated' it is called). Some jurisdictions have high ratios of clergy to parishioners - put mildly. In some areas of the world, buying one's bishopric etc. is widespread. Some national hierarchies cooperate with their secular 'masters' in destroying Orthodox who might wish to actually follow the narrow path to salvation. Catacomb Orthodox who rather recently in Russia emerged from the catacombs are finding, or will so discover, that they probably need to retire again to the catacombs. Dissidents are dealt with sometimes even with murder, beatings, destruction of Church buildings and usage of the pathetic legal system to 'control' the true believers or non-believers.

The clergy, particularly the hierarchy, are a most significant problem. The 'deification' of these false teachers by the many times unaware and unsuspecting parishioners, as relatively few as there may be, is somewhat nauseating as well as the deference stressed at times on the word "father" in addressing clergy. This is a problem more acute in Roman Catholism than in Orthodoxy, but Orthodoxy has it also. If our priests were celibate (a somewhat laughable term in the Roman church in many cases today), we would have a multiple of the current problems.

The Internet is replete with websites and blogs where many many meanspirited discussions go on and on ad nauseum, many times, if not almost exclusively dwelling on jurisdictional disputes. Each seems sure his or her jurisdiction is the only 'canonical' one (canonical seems to be almost a dirty word in the contexts within which it is used to debase and humiliate other people and their views on these sites).

The first thing you are asked by a person in another jurisdiction is "Who is your bishop?", as if the answer determined the legitimacy of your group. No one has ever asked me if I am a true Christian, if I love the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart and soul. No one has ever asked me if the Holy Spirit dwells (lives) within me. These are, apparently, Protestant subjects to them, but they are not; they are Scriptural and from the Lord's mouth.

All in all, I think it best I move on toward the end of my spiritual journey here on earth as a nonaffiliated (officially) pastor. I consider myself to have become, in reality, an Orthodox Pietist, greatly influenced by the writings of not only the wonderful Traditional Orthodox Fathers but also the very spiritual Johann Arndt, German Mystic and Pietist, whose classic TRUE CHRISTIANITY inspired St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, and the writings of Evangelical Pietist Andrew Murray of South Africa. I have labeled myself an Orthodox Pietist because some developments in Pietism had the weakness of minimising the dogmatic truths of True Christianity. Dogma fought for by the saints should be supported and adhered to per the Nicene Creed and the conciliar witness of the true Fathers of Holy Orthodoxy in the First Seven Ecumenical Councils, but our primary work must be on ourselves, inwardly, in our hearts, where the Holy Spirit dwells and will support us as we struggle to transform ourselves into Christ's image. After all, it is possible to know everything about Scripture, the Councils, the Fathers, the Liturgy and be a bishop and still not even be Christian. The struggle within 'trumps' external matters, but the latter are still extremely important, just not as important as the former. It is within the heart that our true salvation lies.
[See Nikitas Stithatos in THE PHILOKALIA, Volume IV (Paperback Edition), Faber and Faber Limited, London, 1998, pp. 115-116:
"God looks not at the outward form of what we say or do, but at the disposition of our soul and the purpose for which we perform a visible action or express a thought. In the same way those of greater understanding than others look rather to the inward meaning of words and the intention of actions, and unfalteringly assess them accordingly. Man looks at the outward form, but God looks on the heart (emphasis supplied) (cf. I Sam. 16: 7)."]

I will follow and stress Scripture more than some do currently in orthodoxy, or as it appears to me anyway.

I guess I really am a Mystic/Protestant with an Orthodox bent or Orthodox with a Mystic and/or Protestant flair. But in any event I am searching for a more congenial intensely spiritual environment and the orthodoxy as practised by the contemporary patriarchates and in the diaspora is not it.

Currently, I am listed as a retired Orthodox priest with full faculties within a True Orthodox jurisdiction. My bishop is a fine person and a good friend of mine. I do not give his name or the jurisdiction's to minimise possible harassment by e-mail and other modes by some meanspirited folk.

I will continue to add to the content of this website regularly. You might have noticed that part of the entries during the past few months have included spiritual witnesses from the past within Mysticism (including German Lutheran Mystic Johann Arndt and even Roman Catholic Mystics such as Madame Guyon and Michael de Molinos), Pietism (including John Wesley) and conservative Protestantism as well as from the saints of The Philokalia, in particular St. Maximos the Confessor.

I will continue to preach as an ordained pastor, primarily through my website.

You can contact me at fr.photios@tx.rr.com if you wish to make any comments.

[inserted on May 19, 2011]


TRUE BELIEFS IN AND OF THEMSELVES ARE NOT ENOUGH!

"4. But as a general account of this will not be sufficient for the simple and unlearned, to bring them to this fundamental knowledge of themselves, I shall therefore descend to a more particular explication, asking them, at the same time, to attend to the 'Five Parts' of their Catechism, and to understand how these are not to remain without them, but must be within them. First, therefore, thou believest that God delivered his law upon Mount Sinai, written upon two tables of stone; and that this law is the will of God, which thou art obliged to obey. You do well to believe this. But this faith profiteth not, unless God himself write his law in your heart (Jer. 31:33), and accomplish his will in you. Now this can never be effected, unless, having now become a Christian, you dedicate your whole heart to God, and offer up your will to him, that His will may be fulfilled in you. The royal prophet David, who well knew the dignity and necessity of this divine operation, employs especially the whole 119th Psalm in earnest prayers to God, that he would vouchsafe to guide and govern him according to his law and testimonies, that so this heavenly work might not by any means be hindered in him. Further, you believe that Christ is your righteousness, your life and salvation. 1 Cor. 1:30. You do well to believe this, 'for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ' (1 Cor. 3:11): 'Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.' Acts 4:12. Yet, remember that you must have Christ within you; that is, you must lay hold on him inwardly by faith, and make him, both as to his Person and office, your own. For if Christ be thine, it follows that all things which are God's are also yours; and that if he had ten thousand worlds and kingdoms full of righteousness and blessedness, yet by faith all are thine. For the righteousness of Christ is greater than all these. So in like manner, though the guilt of ten thousand worlds lay upon thee, yet should it not be able to hurt thee. This then is the treasure which thou must have within thee, as our Lord tells us, 'The kingdom of God is within you' (Luke 17:21): that is, 'righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.' Rom. 14:17.—Thou believest that Christ is the eternal Word of the Father; that he is the true life and light of man. John 1:4. Thou believest aright. But then, thou must take care, that this Word speak in thee, that this light shine in thee, that this life live in thee. For unless thou hast this inward treasure in thy soul, and art united to Christ by a living faith, everything else shall avail thee nothing. Again, thou thinkest thyself obliged by duty and interest, to pray to God, to give him thanks, and to praise his name (Psalm 92:1, 2), and in this thou judgest right. But take care that Christ himself pray within thee, and the Holy Spirit groan within thee (Rom. 8:26); for as he is 'the Spirit of grace and of supplications' (Zech. 12:10), so, in order to make thy prayers effectual, it is necessary that he also pray in thy heart, the temple of spirit and truth. John 4:23. If this be not done, thy prayers are all of little avail.—Thou believest that in Baptism thou receivest remission of sins, the new birth, and adoption as a child of God. Thou believest aright. But unless thou find in thyself the fruit of baptism, the new birth, the unction of the Spirit, and divine illumination, thy baptism shall avail thee nothing.—Thou believest, according to the words of St. Matthew (Matt. 26:26), that in the external Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, thou receivest the true, essential body and the blood of Christ. Thou believest aright. But if thou dost not also eat it inwardly and spiritually, thou wilt not only lose all the benefits of that institution, but dost also eat and drink condemnation to thyself. 1 Cor. 11:29.—Thou believest that Christ was the true Lamb of God offered for us upon the cross. John 1:29. Yet consider: What good can this do thee, unless the same Lamb of God become the daily food and nourishment of thy inward man? 1 Cor. 5:7. It appears, therefore, that thy treasure ought to be within thee, and that unless thou seek it there, thou shalt never find it (emphasis supplied)."

Johann Arndt (1555-1621), TRUE CHRISTIANITY, Book III., #4

[inserted on May 17, 2011]


THE 'LOWEST' PATH LEADS TO THE HIGHEST SPIRITUAL LIFE

"Brothers and sisters, here is the path to the higher life: down, lower down! This was what Jesus always said to the disciples who were thinking of being great in the kingdom, and of, sitting on His right hand and His left. Do not (emphasis supplied) seek or ask for exaltation; that is God's work. See to it that you abase and humble yourselves, and take no place before God or man but that of servant. That is your work. Let that also be your one purpose and prayer. "God is faithful" (I Cor. 1: 9). Just as water always seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds men abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless, He who humbles himself (this must be our one care) will be exalted (this is God's care). By His mighty power and in His great love, He will do it.

People sometimes speak as if humility and meekness will rob us of what is noble and bold and manlike. Oh, that everyone would believe that this is the nobility of the kingdom of heaven! If they would only understand that this is the royal spirit that the King of heaven displayed, that this is God-like, to humble oneself, to become the servant of all! This is the path to the joy and the glory of Christ's presence ever in us, His power ever resting on us.... As the meek and lowly One, He will come in and dwell in the longing heart."

Andrew Murray, (1828-1917), THE PRACTICE OF GOD'S PRESENCE, Book Two: Humility, Chapter 4 (Whitaker House, U.S.A., 2000), pp. 134-135.

[inserted on May 17, 2011]


THE KINGDOM OF GOD THE FATHER IS PRESENT IN US: HOW?

"92. The kingdom of God the Father is present in all believers in potentiality; it is present in actuality in those who, after totally expelling all natural life of soul and body from their inner state, have attained the life of the Spirit alone and are able to say, 'I no longer live, but Christ lives in me' (Gal. 2: 20).

93. Some say that the kingdom of heaven is the way of life which the saints lead in heaven; others that it is a state similar to that of the angels, attained by those who are saved; others that it is the very form of the divine beauty of those who 'wear the image of Him who is from heaven' (I Cor. 15: 49). In my judgment each of these views is correct. For the grace of the kingdom is given to all according to the quality and quantity of the righteousness that is in them (emphasis supplied)."

St. Maximos the Confessor, THE PHILOKALIA, Volume Two, Faber and Faber Limited, London (Paperback Edition, 1990), #92 and 93, p. 161.

[inserted on May 14, 2011]


IT IS WHAT IS INSIDE THAT TAKES SPIRITUAL PRECEDENCE IN OUR QUEST FOR SALVATION

"In the things of God, a tender conscience and surrendered will are more than the highest intellect."
...
"All the outward teaching and knowledge of the words of the prophets and of Christ must give way to the inward speaking of Christ in the soul by the Holy Spirit (emphasis supplied)."

Andrew Murray (1828-1917), THE HOLIEST OF ALL (Updated Edition, Whitaker House, U.S.A., 2004), pp. 213-214.

[inserted on May 13, 2011]


BEING HUMBLE, HOLY AND LOVING GOD UNCONDITIONALLY 'TRUMPS' MERE READING AND/OR STUDYING ABOUT HIM; HE DWELLS WITHIN US THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT; THE TEMPLE WITHIN BECKONS US TO LOVE CHRIST AND DENY THE WORLD IN OUR SEEKING OF SALVATION THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHOSE KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD!

"It is a notion too prevalent at this day, that men are very good Christians, if by reading or discourse they have attained to some kind of intellectual knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is that which generally passes under the name of Divinity, which the generality take to be nothing but a science, or a set of doctrines or opinions to be learned only in theory, not regarding the other most noble powers of the soul, namely, the will and the affections. But all these must be consecrated to God in Christ; and when thou hast done this, thou mayest assure thyself that thou art entirely dedicated to him. For there is a wide difference betwixt the understanding by which we know, and the will or affections by which we love the Lord Jesus. Our love may be perfect, though our knowledge be not so. To know Christ with our understanding, and yet not to love him, is nothing worth; on the other hand, it is infinitely better to love him, than merely to be able to dispute and discourse about him. Eph. 3:19. Let us learn, therefore, so to seek Christ with our understanding, that we may also love him with the entire strength of our will. By this we may be assured that we know him truly, if our knowledge be productive of love. Otherwise, we may be said, indeed, to find him and know him, but it will be to our condemnation. So our blessed Lord tells us, 'Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.' Matt. 7:21. Moreover, there are two ways of obtaining wisdom and knowledge. The one consists in reading and discussion; the other in prayer and charity. The one makes us learned, the other holy. And between these there is a great difference. If men be learned, and not lovers of God, they breathe nothing but pride and arrogance; but if holy, they are humble, and think meanly of themselves. If thou take the first method, thou wilt never find thy internal treasure; if thou take the latter, thou canst not be disappointed. Such is the argument of the Third Book.

4. And now, how glorious, how noble, and happy a thing is it, that our chief and most valuable treasure, that is, the kingdom of God, is not to be sought without, but to be found within us, that we continually carry it about with us, hidden from the world, and that neither the world nor the devil can rob us of it; and that this is not to be obtained by profound learning, skill in languages, or variety of books, but by a devout and humble spirit. Here then let us exercise our greatest care and diligence, and turn our thoughts inward to that hidden, celestial, and eternal good, that divine, that incomparable treasure. Why do we spend our time and pains in the pursuit of external comforts, whilst so great a treasure as the kingdom of God, with all its blessings, lies within us? For in our heart and soul is the true school of the Holy Spirit, the true habitation of the Holy Trinity, the very temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19), the true house of prayer, wherein he desires to be worshipped 'in spirit and in truth.' John 4:23, 24. For though God by his universal presence is in all things, though not included in them (Isa. 66:1), but after an incomprehensible manner filling heaven and earth; yet in a particular and proper sense, he dwells in the soul of the enlightened Christian, taking up his seat and habitation there, as it were in his own image and similitude. Here he operates in a way suitable to himself, answering and aiding every groan and sigh of the devout soul. For how is it possible that He should deny anything to him with whom, and in whom he lives? In a word, there is nothing more pleasant and agreeable to divine love, than to communicate itself to all that unfeignedly seek it.

5. In order to this, however, the soul must be at rest, which it never can be till disengaged from the world. This even some heathens were sensible of, and accordingly one of them tells us, 'that the soul is incapable of wisdom till it is composed and at rest.' There is a fine passage in St. Cyprian to this purpose. 'This,' says he, 'is the true rest and security of the soul, when the man, being delivered from the storms and tempests of the world, raises his heart and eyes unto God, and endeavors to be like him. By this he comes to understand, that all which the world calls beautiful and valuable, is truly hidden in his own soul, so that he neither expects nor desires anything from without. O celestial treasure, to be delivered from the chains and fetters of this world! O chief and boundless good, not to be obtained by any labor of ours, nor by our interest with the great men of this world; in short, not to be gained by our industry and study; but solely and entirely, by the grace and favor of God. For as the light of the sun proceeds from itself, the day breaks from itself, the fountain flows from itself, the rain falls from itself, and waters the earth; so the Holy Spirit descends freely into that soul, which has raised itself from the world unto God.'

6. These words of St. Cyprian express a great truth, and are a sort of epitome of this Book. In a word, this turning inwards of the soul, very often gives us a view of the inward treasure of our souls, though but for a moment. And one such moment is better than heaven and earth, and all the creatures. Hence St. Bernard truly observed, 'that he who has once learned to descend into himself, to seek the face of God, and taste the sweetness of his presence in the inmost recesses of the heart, will think it more tolerable to suffer even the pains of hell for a season, than, after having tasted the sweetness of this divine exercise, to return again to the pleasures, or rather, to the lusts and wearisome gratifications of the world and the flesh, arising from the insatiable cravings of the inferior appetites.' In short, such a soul not only feels the highest happiness, by finding in itself the presence of God; but also the deepest misery, in being deprived of it. By this the true Christian is fully instructed, that by dying to the world, he lives in God, as the fountain of life; and, on the other hand, that the more he lives to the world, the more he dies unto God: that the soul which is dead to the world, truly lives unto God, and is his joy, or, as the Song of Solomon expresses it, is better than the taste of wine, or the smell of all spices (Cant. 4:10); while on the other hand, the hearts of worldly men are but sour grapes, as the grapes of Sodom, which are as gall, and their clusters are bitter. Deut. 32:32. The soul that is dead to the world, may be discovered by these tokens. It resigns its own will to the will of God in all things; it suppresses self-love; it mortifies the desires of the flesh; it avoids worldly pleasures; it esteems itself as the meanest of all, and is not apt to judge or censure a neighbor. Such a one refers all his injuries and wrongs to the God of righteousness, to whom vengeance belongeth; he is not puffed up with the applause of men, nor grieved by their revilings; in a word, he bears everything with patience and without repining. A noble instance of this resigned temper we have in king David (2 Sam. 23:15-17), when he poured out before the Lord the water of the well of Bethlehem, after which he had so earnestly longed, and which three mighty men of his host had brought for him at the hazard of their lives. This was an action of great self-denial; for he would not gratify his desires by tasting that for which three men had ventured their lives.

7. Herein consists the true perfection of the Christian life. For perfection is not, as some suppose, a sublime, spiritual kind of relish for heavenly enjoyments; but it is the denying our own will, the contempt of the pleasures and profits of this life, the acknowledging our own vileness, constant resignation to the will of God, and unwearied love and unfeigned compassion for our neighbor. In a word, it is that degree of love, which, allowing for human infirmities, thinks of nothing, seeks nothing, desires nothing but God. This is that true Christian virtue, true liberty, and true peace, which consists in overcoming the flesh and fleshly desires, as will appear in this Third Book, and as thou wilt learn from thine own experience, if thou wilt apply the truth. For which great end, I pray that divine grace may descend both upon the reader and writer, that it may please God to begin, strengthen, and perfect his good work in us, to the praise and glory of himself. Amen."

Johann Arndt (1555-1621), TRUE CHRISTIANITY, Book III., Preface, See #s 3-7.

[inserted on May 4, 2011]


AVOID CONDEMNING OTHERS!

"Those who correct others should watch for the Holy Spirit to go ahead of them and touch a person's heart. Learn to imitate Him who reproves gently. People do not need to see God condemning them, they must realise within themselves that they have done something wrong. Do not be heavy-handed lest people see God as a judgmental ogre. When you become outraged over a person's fault, it is generally not 'righteous indignation' but your own impatient personality expressing itself. Here is the imperfect pointing a finger at the imperfect. The more you selfishly love yourself, the more critical you will be. Self-love cannot forgive the self-love it discovers in others. Nothing is so offensive to a haughty, conceited heart as the sight of another one."

'Renegade' Abp. Fenelon (1651-1715), THE SEEKING HEART, Volume 4, Library of Spiritual Classics, SeedSowers Publishing, Jacksonville, Florida, p. 53.

[inserted on April 29, 2011]


THE CHALICE OF CHRIST
We cannot refuse it!

by St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) [inserted on April 22, 2011]


FEW WILL BE SAVED, LET'S BE WITHIN THE FEW!

Anglican Bishop J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), FEW SAVED!

[inserted on April 22, 2011]


PREPARE FOR THE COMING INTENSIFICATION OF PERSECUTION OF CHRIST'S TRUE FOLLOWERS!

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, PREPARING FOR THE UNDERGROUND CHURCH

[Invaluable information for us as we enter the last days - we need this advice from one who suffered for 14 years under Communist tyranny. The days of Christian persecution are coming to America. Are you ready to die for Christ? If not, why? Didn't He do so for us? Isn't that what Pascha/Easter is all about?] [inserted on April 16, 2011]


CONCENTRATE ON SPIRITUALLY CHANGING ONESELF!

"There is no coming to the exalted felicity of the kingdom of God, but by the low valley of humility and self-denial."

German Mystic Johann Arndt (1555 –1621), TRUE CHRISTIANITY, Book III., Chapter V. # 2. [Read at The Project Gutenberg EBook of True Christianity by Johann Arndt]

[inserted on April 13, 2011]


RECONCILIATION IS THROUGH CHRIST, NOT MOHAMMED

"While Islam demands that its followers comply with the Islamic law of the Qur'an and ahadiths, the message of Christianity portrays a freedom from the Mosaic Law via the New Covenant with God through faith in Jesus Christ and His saving work of the cross. Mohammed freed no one, but Jesus Christ frees all who will accept His redemptive sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary."

James F. Gauss, ISLAM & CHRISTIANITY A REVEALING CONTRAST(an excellent read) (Bridge-Logos, Alachua, Florida, 2009), p. 203.

[INSERTED ON APRIL 5, 2011]


UPWARD TOWARD INWARD: THE NARROW WAY TO ETERNITY

"C H A P. IV.

1. Many continue long under this Declension. 2. Confirmed by the Author's Experience. 3. His Recovery from it, by a clearer discovery of the narrow way to Life. 4. The Soul ascends by retiring inwards towards it's Center, descends by moving outwards. 5. The Soul's Progress described. 6. Death the only way to Life.

(w) Isaiah i. 19.

(x) Gal. v. 7.

1.MA N Y Souls stick long in this Condition, before they make a new advance towards Perfection, usually much reflecting upon their former work of Conversion, as the chief Basis of their Comforts: And though sometimes they look forwards, and desire (w) growth, yet that desire of growth is so weak that it terminates in itself short of effectual accomplishment; and though they sometimes begin, yet their endeavours are (x) nipt in their first Blossoming, and they themselves cast back into wonted Deadness, and so they come to run in a Circle, without getting ground of their Corruptions.

2. And I confess, I was long detained in this State, without any clear evident progress towards Eternity: And though I grew much in Knowledge and mystical Notions of the Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ, and of our Conformity to his Example; yet not in the Power of his Cross, and Death, working the same in my Nature.

(y) 1Tim. ii. 11.

(z) Rom. viii. 13.

(a) Mat. vii. 13.

(b) Luke xiv. 33.

(c) 1Peter ii. 21.

(d) 1Cor. xv. 49.

(e) Matt. xviii. 3.

(f) I exclude not the Soul nor the resurrection Body, for they both ( vested with this Image) shall arrive at Immortality, and possess Heaven, 1Thes. iv.17.

3. But afterward I came to a clearer sight of the Narrow Way which leads to Life Eternal, and of the necessity of our exact (y) Conformity to Christ's Sufferings and Death, to bring us unto his Life, and Resurrection: And that every degree of Life must come through a degree of Death; and the New-Man (z) spring up by continual decay of the Old. And though I saw This before, yet not so distinctly and effectually, as now. Here likewise I was more powerfully convinced of the (a) Straitness of the Pilgrim’s Path, which leads through the Visible and Invisible Worlds, into the third Heaven: Every step being to be made through Death and Resignation; and that the Soul could not attain perfect Bliss, but through a Death to (b) all things, which it came to love through the Fall. For as the Soul entered into Selfishness, so it must come out of it, casting away all that cloathing it is covered with, through Lust: And as it descended from Paradise into the Spirit of the World, and the Kingdom of the Devil, so it must re-ascend out of the Spirit of the World, and the Kingdom of the Dragon, through the Root (c) of fallen Nature into the Bosom of Abraham. Here I saw what a real Progress the Soul must make from the External into the Internal from thence into the Eternal: And as it descended so it must ascend; and as it fell by a gradual Change of the Will into Lust and Earthliness, so it must Rise by (d) a gradual renewal of the Soul, from Lust into Divine Love. Here I saw nothing without us could advantage, but as it was apply’d, to make a real change within. For (e) except we turn, and become as Children, we cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. It must be a Transmutation, and Metamorphosis of the Soul from the Image of the Earthly into that of the Heavenly. Nothing can ascend into Heaven, but that which came from Heaven, even the true (f) Image of God; the Earthly being predestinated to destruction: For Earth it is, and unto Earth it must return.

(g) Isaiah lxvi. 1.

4. Now the motion of the Soul through the Gate of Death towards Life Eternal, is the motion of a Spirit, which is to be looked upon as ascending or descending, as it comes nearer or removes further from God the Center, as Bodies ascend or descend in relation to their Center, by their tending toward or fromward the Visible Heavens. Upward therefore to a Soul, is Inward; Outward is Downward. The Center is the Highest, the Circumference the lowest. God is in the Center being the most Inward; Matter in the Circumference, being most Outward; (g) yet God is in the Outward, as his footstool, but in the most Inward, as his Throne; filling both, though in both, not manifest alike. In the Inmost, he shows himself wholly in the Love; in the Outmost, in Love and Wrath, Life and Death, Generation and Corruption: But in the Inward dark World, altogether in Death, Darkness, and Wrath; as in the Inmost, all in Light and Life.

5. Therefore our Progress is from the Outward, through the Inward to the Inmost. The Outward is the place of Good and Evil, and as to its corrupt State, the Kingdom of the Beast. The Inward is two-fold, either the Dark or Light World. The Dark, is the Kingdom of the Dragon, the Center of Evil and Wrath; The Light World is the Paradisiacal Sphere, or that Garden of Eden, which is also situate in its Mesopotamia, or betwixt the two great rivers of Wrath and Love. The first of which is called (h) The Lake of Fire, burning with Brimstone; the last, Rev. 22 A pure River of Water of Life, clear as Chrystal, which proceeds out of the Throne of God, and of the Lamb. The Inmost, is the eternal Sanctuary, or true eternal Tabernacle of God, and that spiritual Land of Peace, where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the glorified, departed Saints live and inhabit.

(h) Rev. xix. 20. 5.

6. But none can ever reach This, but through the perfect Death; and as we die daily, so we rise nearer it, Death giving us a gradual passage towards this Eternal Kingdom of Life.

And is it so, that Death must waft us ore,
The Sea of Nature, to the Heavenly shore?
Then bring thy Boat, blest Death, that thou and I
May sail together towards Eternity.
A sweet Companion thou wilt be to me,
Till I imbosom’d am in Unity."

Thomas Bromley (1629-1691), The W A Y to the S A B B A T H of R E S T: O R T H E SOUL'S PROGRESS in the NE W - B I R T H., Chapter IV (some italics left out for a more convenient reading)

[inserted on April 4, 2011]


ST. GREGORY OF NYSSA - THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD, NOT THREE

"§14. He proceeds to discuss the views held by Eunomius, and by the Church, touching the Holy Spirit; and to show that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are not three Gods, but one God. He also discusses different senses of 'Subjection,' and therein shows that the subjection of all things to the Son is the same as the subjection of the Son to the Father.

Thus much with regard to his profanity towards the Son. Now let us see what he says about the Holy Spirit. 'After Him, we believe,' he says, 'on the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth.' I think it will be plain to all who come across this passage what object he has in view in thus perverting the declaration of the faith delivered to us by the Lord, in his statements concerning the Son and the Father. Though this absurdity has already been exposed, I will nevertheless endeavour, in few words, to make plain the aim of his knavery. As in the former case, he avoided using the name 'Father,' that so he might not include the Son in the eternity of the Father, so he avoided employing the title Son, that he might not by it suggest His natural affinity to the Father; so here, too, he refrains from saying 'Holy Spirit,' that he may not by this name acknowledge the majesty of His glory, and His complete union with the Father and the Son. For since the appellation of 'Spirit,' and that of 'Holy, are by the Scriptures equally applied to the Father and the Son (for 'God is a Spirit451 (S. John iv. 24),' and 'the anointed Lord is the Spirit before our face452 (Cf. Lam. iv. 20 in LXX.),' and 'the Lord our God is Holy453 (Ps. xcix. 9.),' and there is 'one Holy, one Lord Jesus Christ454 (Cf. the response to the words of the Priest at the elevation the Gifts in the Greek Liturgies.)' lest there should, by the use of these terms, be bred in the minds of his readers some orthodox conception of the Holy Spirit, such as would naturally arise in them from His sharing His glorious appellation with the Father and the Son, for this reason, deluding the ears of the foolish, he changes the words of the Faith as set forth by God in the delivery of this mystery, making a way, so to speak, by this sequence, for the entrance of his impiety against the Holy Spirit. For if he had said, 'We believe in the Holy Spirit,' and 'God is a Spirit,' any one instructed in things divine would have interposed the remark, that if we are to believe in the Holy Spirit, while God is called a Spirit, He is assuredly not distinct in nature from that which receives the same titles in a proper sense. For of all those things which are indicated not unreally, nor metaphorically, but properly and absolutely, by the same names, we are necessarily compelled to acknowledge that the nature also, which is signified by this identity of names, is one and the same. For this reason it is that, suppressing the name appointed by the Lord in the formula of the faith, he says, 'We believe in the Comforter.' But I have been taught that this very name is also applied by the inspired Scripture to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost alike. For the Son gives the name of 'Comforter' equally to Himself and to the Holy Spirit455 (S. John xiv. 16); and the Father, where He is said to work comfort, surely claims as His own the name of 'Comforter.' For assuredly he Who does the work of a Comforter does not disdain the name belonging to the work: for David says to the Father, 'Thou, Lord, hast holpen me and comforted me456 (Ps. lxxvi. 17.),' and the great Apostle applies to the Father the same language, when he says, 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation457 (2 Cor. i. 3–4.)'; and John, in one of his Catholic Epistles, expressly gives to the Son the name of Comforter458 (1 S. John ii. 1.) (The word is in the A.V. rendered 'advocate.'). Nay, more, the Lord Himself, in saying that another Comforter would be sent us, when speaking of the Spirit, clearly asserted this title of Himself in the first place. But as there are two senses of the word pa?a?a?e??459 (From which is derived the name Paraclete, i.e. Comforter or Advocate.),—one to beseech, by words and gestures of respect, to induce him to whom we apply for anything, to feel with us in respect of those things for which we apply,—the other to comfort, to take remedial thought for affections of body and soul,—the Holy Scripture affirms the conception of the Paraclete, in either sense alike, to belong to the Divine nature. For at one time Paul sets before us by the word pa?a?a?e?? the healing power of God, as when he says, 'God, Who comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus460 (2 Cor. vii. 6.'); and at another time he uses this word in its other meaning, when he says, writing to the Corinthians, 'Now we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God461 (2 Cor. v. 20.).' Now since these things are so, in whatever way you understand the title 'Paraclete,' when used of the Spirit, you will not in either of its significations detach Him from His community in it with the Father and the Son. Accordingly, he has not been able, even though he wished it, to belittle the glory of the Spirit by ascribing to Him the very attribute which Holy Scripture refers also to the Father and to the Son. But in styling Him 'the Spirit of Truth,' Eunomius’ own wish, I suppose, was to suggest by this phrase subjection, since Christ is the Truth, and he called Him the Spirit of Truth, as if one should say that He is a possession and chattel of the Truth, without being aware that God is called a God of righteousness462 The text reads, 'that God is called righteousness,' but the argument seems to require the genitive case. The reference may be to Ps. iv. 1.); and we certainly do not understand thereby that God is a possession of righteousness. Wherefore also, when we hear of the 'Spirit of Truth,' we acquire by that phrase such a conception as befits the Deity, being guided to the loftier interpretation by the words which follow it. For when the Lord said 'The Spirit of Truth,' He immediately added 'Which proceedeth from the Father463 (S. John xv. 26),' a fact which the voice of the Lord never asserted of any conceivable thing in creation, not of aught visible or invisible, not of thrones, principalities, powers, or dominions, nor of any other name that is named either in this world or in that which is to come. It is plain then that that, from share in which all creation is excluded, is something special and peculiar to uncreated being. But this man bids us believe in 'the Guide of godliness.' Let a man then believe in Paul, and Barnabas, and Titus, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, and all those by whom we have been led into the way of the faith. For if we are to believe in 'that which guides us to godliness,' along with the Father and the Son, all the prophets and lawgivers and patriarchs, heralds, evangelists, apostles, pastors, and teachers, have equal honour with the Holy Spirit, as they have been 'guides to godliness' to those who came after them. 'Who came into being,' he goes on, 'by the only God through the Only-begotten.' In these words he gathers up in one head all his blasphemy. Once more he calls the Father 'only God,' who employs the Only-begotten as an instrument for the production of the Spirit. What shadow of such a notion did he find in Scripture, that he ventures upon this assertion? by deduction from what premises did he bring his profanity to such a conclusion as this? Which of the Evangelists says it? what apostle? what prophet? Nay, on the contrary every scripture divinely inspired, written by the afflatus of the Spirit, attests the Divinity of the Spirit. For example (for it is better to prove my position from the actual testimonies), those who receive power to become children of God bear witness to the Divinity of the Spirit. Who knows not that utterance of the Lord which tells us that they who are born of the Spirit are the children of God? For thus He expressly ascribes the birth of the children of God to the Spirit, saying, that as that which is born of the flesh is flesh, so that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. But as many as are born of the Spirit are called the children of God464 (With this passage cf. S. John i. 12, iii. 6; Rom. viii. 14; 1 S. John iii. 3.). So also when the Lord by breathing upon His disciples had imparted to them the Holy Spirit, John says, 'Of His fulness have all we received465 (S. John xx. 21, and i. 16.).' And that 'in Him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead466 (Col. ii. 9.),' the mighty Paul attests: yea, moreover, through the prophet Isaiah it is attested, as to the manifestation of the Divine appearance vouchsafed to him, when he saw Him that sat 'on the throne high and lifted up467 (Is. vi. 1.);' the older tradition, it is true, says that it was the Father Who appeared to him, but the evangelist John refers the prophecy to our Lord, saying, touching those of the Jews who did not believe the words uttered by the prophet concerning the Lord, 'These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory and spoke of Him468 (S. John xii. 41. The 'older tradition' means presumably the ancient interpretation of the Jews.). But the mighty Paul attributes the same passage to the Holy Spirit in his speech made to the Jews at Rome, when he says, 'Well spoke the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet concerning you, saying, Hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand469 (Cf. Acts xxviii. 25, 26. The quotation is not verbal.), showing, in my opinion, by Holy Scripture itself, that every specially divine vision, every theophany, every word uttered in the Person of God, is to be understood to refer to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Hence when David says, 'they provoked God in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert470 (Cf. Ps. lxxviii. 40.),' the apostle refers to the Holy Spirit the despite done by the Israelites to God, in these terms: 'Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness; when your fathers tempted me471 (Heb. iii. 7.),' and goes on to refer all that the prophecy refers to God, to the Person of the Holy Ghost. Those who keep repeating against us the phrase 'three Gods,' because we hold these views, have perhaps not yet learnt how to count. For if the Father and the Son are not divided into duality, (for they are, according to the Lord’s words, One, and not Two472 (S. John x. 30) and if the Holy Ghost is also one, how can one added to one be divided into the number of three Gods? Is it not rather plain that no one can charge us with believing in the number of three Gods, without himself first maintaining in his own doctrine a pair of Gods? For it is by being added to two that the one completes the triad of Gods. But what room is there for the charge of tritheism against those by whom one God is worshipped, the God expressed by the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost?

Let us however resume Eunomius’ statement in its entirety. 'Having come into being from the only God through the Only-begotten, this Spirit also—' What proof is there of the statement that 'this Spirit also' is one of the things that were made by the Only-begotten? They will say of course that 'all things were made by Him473 (Cf. S. John i. 3),' and that in the term 'all things' 'this Spirit also' is included. Our answer to them shall be this, All things were made by Him, that were made. Now the things that were made, as Paul tells us, were things visible and invisible, thrones, authorities, dominions, principalities, powers, and among those included under the head of thrones and powers are reckoned by Paul the Cherubim and Seraphim474 (Cf. Col. i. 16; but the enumeration varies considerably.): so far does the term 'all things' extend. But of the Holy Spirit, as being above the nature of things that have come into being, Paul said not a word in his enumeration of existing things, not indicating to us by his words either His subordination or His coming into being; but just as the prophet calls the Holy Spirit 'good,' and 'right,' and 'guiding'475 (The last of these epithets is from Ps. li. 14 (p?e?µa ??eµ??????, the 'Spiritus principalis' of the Vulgate, the 'free spirit' of the English version); the 'right spirit' of ver. 12 being also applied by S. Gregory to the Holy Spirit, while the epithet 'good' is from Ps. cxlii. 10.)' (indicating by the word 'guiding' the power of control), even so the apostle ascribes independent authority to the dignity of the Spirit, when he affirms that He works all in all as He wills476 ( Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 11.). Again, the Lord makes manifest the Spirit’s independent power and operation in His discourse with Nicodemus, when He says, 'The Spirit breatheth where He willeth477 (S. John iii. 8.)' How is it then that Eunomius goes so far as to define that He also is one of the things that came into being by the Son, condemned to eternal subjection. For he describes Him as 'once for all made subject,”enthralling the guiding and governing Spirit in I know not what form of subjection. For this expression of 'subjection' has many significations in Holy Scripture, and is understood and used with many varieties of meaning. For the Psalmist says that even irrational nature is put in subjection4784 (Ps. viii. 7, 8.), and brings under the same term those who are overcome in war479 (Ps. xlvii. 3.), while the apostle bids servants to be in subjection to their own masters480 (Tit. ii. 9.), and that those who are placed over the priesthood should have their children in subjection481 (1 Tim. iii. 4.), as their disorderly conduct brings discredit upon their fathers, as in the case of the sons of Eli the priest. Again, he speaks of the subjection of all men to God, when we all, being united to one another by the faith, become one body of the Lord Who is in all, as the subjection of the Son to the Father, when the adoration paid to the Son by all things with one accord, by things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, redounds to the glory of the Father; as Paul says elsewhere, “To Him every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father482 ( Cf. Phil. ii. 10, 11, a passage which is apparently considered as explanatory of 1 Cor. xv. 28.).' For when this takes place, the mighty wisdom of Paul affirms that the Son, Who is in all, is subject to the Father by virtue of the subjection of those in whom He is. What kind of 'subjection once for all' Eunomius asserts of the Holy Spirit, it is thus impossible to learn from the phrase which he has thrown out,—whether he means the subjection of irrational creatures, or of captives, or of servants, or of children who are kept in order, or of those who are saved by subjection. For the subjection of men to God is salvation for those who are so made subject, according to the voice of the prophet, who says that his soul is subject to God, since of Him cometh salvation by subjection483 (Cf. Ps. lxii. 1 (LXX.)., so that subjection is the means of averting perdition. As therefore the help of the healing art is sought eagerly by the sick, so is subjection by those who are in need of salvation. But of what life does the Holy Spirit, that quickeneth all things, stand in need, that by subjection He should obtain salvation for Himself? Since then it is not on the strength of any Divine utterance that he asserts such an attribute of the Spirit, nor yet is it as a consequence of probable arguments that he has launched this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, it must be plain at all events to sensible men that he vents his impiety against Him without any warrant whatsoever, unsupported as it is by any authority from Scripture or by any logical consequence."

St. Gregory of Nyssa, AGAINST EUNOMIUS, Book II, #14

[INSERTED ON APRIL 2, 2011]


Spanish Mystic Michael Molinos, THE SPIRITUAL GUIDE (e copy - 1688 English translation)

[inserted on April 2, 2011]


LIBERTY IN CHRIST

"'If the Son make ye free, ye shall be free indeed.' When the man of sin is destroyed, and the new man established in the soul, it finds itself in perfect liberty. As a bird let loose from its cage, the soul goes forth, unfettered, to dwell in the immensity of God. The natural selfish life restricts the soul at every point; and even God, the great I am, is unseen, or deprived of his glory.

When Paul asked, 'Who shall deliver me from this body of death?' he added, 'I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' That is, when by the grace of God, the new man is established in my soul, I shall be delivered. And, subsequently, when deliverance came, he cried out in transport, 'I live, and yet not I. Christ liveth in me!' He was now no more occupied of himself, but let Jesus Christ live and act in him; he was animated by him, as the body is of the soul. If another soul animated our body, the body would obey this new soul; it would become the moving-spring of its operations. Thus Jesus Christ becomes the life of the new man. And what can be more free, more enlarged, than the soul of Jesus? His nature is divine, eternal, boundless. Alas! to what a narrow point does self reduce us! Who that looks at the freedom and expansion of the soul, as it puts on the new man, Christ Jesus, will not crush the reptile self to the dust, that the life of God may again, as in its first creation, animate the soul?

This liberty is as the eagles' wings, of which the prophet speaks, which carries the soul on high. The dove that lighted on Jesus, was an emblem, not only of innocence, but of freedom,—of liberty of spirit to soar and dwell in God. May it please God to give you an experience of this liberty. Quit self, and you will find the freedom and enlargement of the All in All."

Madame Guyon (1648-1717) in her LETTERS OF MADAM GUYON
BEING SELECTIONS OF HER RELIGIOUS THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES, TRANSLATED AND RE-ARRANGED FROM HER PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE By P. L. UPHAM (1858)

[inserted on April 2, 2011]


WHAT DOES GOD LOVE THE MOST?

"God loves not the believer who does the most, nor who feels the most, nor who thinks the most cleverly and best, nor even that one who shows the greatest love, but He loves him who suffers (emphasis supplied) the most."

Spanish Mystic Michael Molinos, THE SPIRITUAL GUIDE (first published in 1675) (Sargent, GA, U.S.A.: The Seedsowers Christian Books Publishing House, 1982), p. 41.

An outstanding recommendation for this book was issued in the Papal Decree of 1687. The following is written on the front cover of the book:

"Anyone found in possession of this book will be excommunicated.
Papal Decree 1687"

Such a decree by what many might consider AntiChrist Headquarters ("ACH") against a work so sparklingly spiritual as this one should compel us to read and reread this practical masterpiece. It does focus on our inner spiritual state as does the entire Orthodox Christian Faith, the Faith of Christ and His Followers. Hear what the great Greek Lay Theologian Dr. Alexandre Kalomiros states for the fathers of the True Church:

"What is the profoundest characteristic of Orthodox life, the quintessential characteristic of Orthodox piety, the sign of authentic Orthodoxy as well as a premise of the true faith? It is turning inward."

[inserted on April 1, 2011]


French Mystic Madame Guyon's interpretation of the Book of Revelation, CHRIST OUR REVELATION (1683) (107 pages)

Spiritual Dynamite!

[inserted on April 1, 2011]


A SPIRITUAL LESSON FROM A NON-CHRISTIAN ON HOW TO TREAT YOUR 'ENEMIES'!

"When the Master came to 'Akka there lived a certain man from Afghanistan, an austere and rigid Mussulman (ed: Muslim). To him the master was a heretic. He felt and nourished a great enmity towards the Master and roused up others against him. When opportunity offered in gatherings of the people, as in the Mosque, he denounced him with bitter words.

'This man,' he said to all, 'is an imposter. Why do you speak to him? Why do you have dealings with him?' And when he passed the Master on the street he was careful to hold his robe before his face that his sight might not be defiled.

Thus did this Afghan. The Master, however, did thus: The Afghan was poor and lived in a mosque, he was frequently in need of food and clothing. The Master sent him both. This he accepted, but without thanks. He fell sick. The Master took him a physician, food, medicine, money. These, also, he accepted, but as he held out one hand that the physician might take his pulse, with the other he held his cloak before his face that he might not look upon the Master. For twenty-four years the Master continued his kindnesses and the Afghan persisted in his enmity. Then at last one day the Afghan came to the Master's door, and fell down, penitent and weeping, at his feet.

'Forgive me, sir!' he cried. 'For twenty-four years I have done evil to you. Now I know that I have been in the wrong.'

The Master bade him rise and they became friends."

THE SPIRITUAL TEACHINGS OF 'ABDU'L-BAHA (1844-1921), WISDOM OF THE MASTER (INTRODUCTION BY EDITOR STEVEN SCHOLL), (Ashland, Ordegon: White Cloud Press in association with Kalimat Press, Los Angeles, 1997, Paperback), pp. 9-10.

Comment by Photios, St. James The Just True Orthodox Spiritual Center:

The Master was the son of the founder of the Bahai religion. From the age of eight years, he spent long years in captivity with his father before being released at the age of 64. His course of life on earth closely resembles the humility of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; yet he was not a Christian.

Are we anywhere near the spiritual witness of this man? If not, why not? Because how he treated the Afghan Muslim is expected, indeed demanded, of all True Christians. The humility and love he showed all people through his life (he spent many of his last years in the United States) never wavered. He returned spite and persecution with the most powerful weapons in our spiritual armour, love/ humility. He was truly Christlike. As we are required to be. His life should be a witness to us all, and we should be ashamed if we do not even try to emulate it since his actions were no doubt Christlike.

We have no excuses.

May the Lord bless us with His grace to get our houses in order!

[inserted on March 30, 2011]


HUMILITY, SELF AND SALVATION

Humility is the foundation of our salvation, without it we cannot enter Christ's kingdom.

"Humility is the key-not a false humility that is often displayed by cultural Christians who actually relish the praise and recognition of others for the smallest acts of charity, but an authentic humility that is so deeply rooted that it is almost oblivious to what others think about what we do. This humility seeks not to be noticed. It pursues a quiet oblivion. Love and humility are the marks of one who has learned not to seek the favor of men but rather the favor of God as their motivating principle. It is a principle that is so independent of what people think that it forms a perfect contrast to European selfishness, Stoical pride, and to Cynical brutality. It is a reflection of the very character of Christ Himself (emphasis supplied)."

[William Wilberforce (b. 1759), REAL CHRISTIANITY (published in 1797,:revised and updated by Dr. Bob Beltz, Regal Books, Gospel Light, Ventura, California, 2006), p. 95.]

Our task is to deny self by our humility and faith in the Lord. Salvation is not a point in time; rather, a process of spiritual growth in which we continually strive to bring ourselves to perfection in His image. The Holy Spirit indwells in us and provides spiritual leadership for us all. But we have to do more than simply believe. The fruit of our faith must flower and provide evidence of good works emanating from our true faith. No external institution is enough. The key lies within ourselves, in the heart, which must soften with the light of Christ and inwardly transform us into "little Christs"!

We must abandon ourselves on this epic spiritual journey into the Lord, surrender ourselves to the Spirit of Christ, and do things in His Spirit, not in ours:

"This shows how necessary it is to renounce ourselves and all our [self-] activity, to follow Christ, for we cannot follow Him if the source of our activity is not His Spirit. Now that His Spirit may gain entrance, it is necessary that our own [spirit] should be surrendered to it. 'He that is joined unto the Lord,' says the apostle Paul, 'is one spirit.' And David said it was good for him to draw near unto the Lord, and to put his trust in him. What is this drawing near? It is the beginning of [divine] union [between you and Christ] (emphasis supplied)."

[Madame Guyon (b. 1648) EXPERIENCING UNION WITH GOD THROUGH INNER PRAYER & THE WAY AND RESULTS OF UNION WITH GOD (Revised in modern English by Harold J. Chadwick, Bridge-Logos, Orlando, Florida, 2001), p. 121.]

We must love Him as He loves us, unconditionally. Our inner transformation is vital to our growth in Faith; yet it does not negate the Divine importance of Holy Scripture and Dogma. E.g., if we deny the divinity of Christ, we are not Christians no matter how "good" we otherwise are. Our faith must be in the Lord within the context of the Holy Trinity. A denial of the Incarnation is blasphemous. The virtue of humility is the "precious stone" that is the foundation for entry into the Lord's kingdom:

"I shall tell you something strange, but do not be surprised by it. Should you fail to attain dispassion because of the predispositions dominating you, but at the time of your death be in the depths of humility, you will be exalted above the clouds no less than the man who is dispassionate. For even if the treasure of those who are dispassionate consists of every virtue, the precious stone of humility is more valuable than them all: it brings about not only propitiation with the Creator, but also entry with the elect into the bridal chamber of His kingdom (emphasis supplied)."

[ St. Theognostos, ON THE PRACTICE OF THE VIRTUES in THE PHILOKALIA, Volume Two (Faber and Faber Limited, London, first published in 1981, paperback edition 1990), p. 373.]

Photios+

St. James the Just True Orthodox Spiritual Center

[inserted on March 18, 2011]


SERVING GOD...

"Truly there is no other way of serving God, except by that which he himself works in our hearts: so that to serve God, is nothing else but to serve our neighbor, and to do him all the offices of Christian love and humanity which we are able to perform."

Johann Arndt, TRUE CHRISTIANITY, Book I., Chapter XXVI., #3 (Project Gutenberg, e-book) [inserted on March 13, 2011]


WE NEED WORKS OR RIGHTEOUSNESS, NOT MERE WORDS!

"God may be called and actually is the Father by grace only of those whose will and disposition have been reborn in the Spirit through the practice of the virtues. By means of this birth they bear in their soul and manifest in the virtues the imprint of God their Father. Through their way of life they make those who see them glorify God by reforming themselves, and so they provide an excellent pattern of virtue for others to imitate. For God is glorified not by mere words but by works of righteousness, which proclaim the majesty of God far more effectively than words (emphasis supplied)."

St. Maximos the Confessor, THE PHILOKALIA, Volume Two (London, Faber and Faber Limited, paperback edition 1990), pp. 256-257. [St. Maximos the Confessor (580-622) is one of the Orthodox Church's greatest saints, who despite having his tongue "plucked out" and right hand cut off never deviated from the Faith, see an Introductory Note on him, ibid., pp.48-51.]

[inserted on March 3, 2011]


"CHRIST REIGNS IN PURE HEARTS"

"Christ constructs for Himself in every soul a throne, which He adorns with great magnificence, to become the place of His abode as well as of His repose and eternal delights. He does this after having bought us with His blood and sanctified us by His grace, that he may reign in us as a sovereign. For, as God reigns in Jesus Christ, in the same way Christ reigns in pure hearts, where He finds nothing that either resists or is offensive to Him (emphasis supplied). In this way, He is appointing us a kingdom and making us partakers of His royal state, as His Father had appointed Him a kingdom (see Luke 22:29) and shared His glory with Him."

Madame Guyon (1648-1717), SONG OF THE BRIDE (previously published as SONG OF SONGS), Chapter 3, Surrendering the Will (New Kensington, PA, Whitaker House, 1997), p. 81.

[inserted on March 3, 2011]


"AND FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT"

"There are but a few who are truly meek and gentle, who never overcome evil with evil, but overcome evil with good. It is they who are athirst for God and continually panting after a renewal in His likeness. How thinly are they scattered around the Earth whose souls are enlarged with love to all mankind. How scarce are those who love God with all their strength, and have given Him their hearts, and desire nothing else in heaven or on Earth. How few are those lovers of God and man, who spend their whole strength in doing good to all men. How few are the ones who are ready to suffer all things, even death itself, to save one's soul from eternal death ." (all emphases supplied)

John Wesley, THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT Classic, (Bridge-Logos, FL, 2010), p. 264.


LETTERS OF MADAME GUYON (selected, translated and rearranged from her private correspondence by P.L. Upham, 1858)

Madame Guyon (A.D. 1648-1717) was a French mystic, whose spiritual writings rocked the hierarchy's primarily externally-based world of works. "Neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you (St. Luke 17:21)"

[inserted on February 12, 2011]


ST. JAMES THE JUST ON OUR RELATIONSHIP TO THIS WORLD

"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

(St. James 4:4)

[inserted on February 5, 2011]


BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS

"Rarely are their assaults on the truth open and head-on attacks. Instead, they prefer to work underground, drilling little holes in the foundations of truth itself. They do this by suggesting subtle redefinitions, by making crafty modifications, or by suggesting that contemporary Christianity needs to reimagine, update, or simply jettison some supposedly obsolete doctrine. They usually try to sound as innocuous as possible while planting as many doubts as they can. Those doubts are like sticks of dynamite in the foundation holes they have drilled. They are actually working toward the wholesale demolition of the entire structure.... False teachers and doctrinal saboteurs inside the church have always confused more people and done more damage than open adversaries on the outside.... From the very start of the church age, all the most spiritually deadly onslaughts against the Gospel have come from people who pretended to be Christians-not from atheists and agnostics on the outside."

John MacArthur, THE TRUTH WAR (Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN), 2007, pp. 80, 81, 82-83.

[inserted on February 4, 2011]


SIZE

The larger the parish the greater chance of heresy; for why is it so "popular," if not to parrot the world?

[inserted on February 4, 2011]

Photios+


SOMETHING FOR THE FALSE TEACHERS TO THINK ABOUT

Fr. Gleb Yakunin, Lev Regelson, DECLARATION ON CHURCH RIGHTS OF ORTHODOX COMMUNITIES AND EPARCHIES (Moscow, November 1st, 2010) [inserted on February 3, 2011]


'CULTURE' MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH EVIL

Those most 'cultured' sometimes become very susceptible to evil, e.g., the Nazis/SS who could quote and appreciate Wagner, other opera composers, and fine art, whilst at the same time 'enjoying' their lampshades made from Jewish skins.

Photios+ [inserted on February 1, 2011]


BE GUILELESS AS A CHILD AND RECEIVE THE KINGDOM OF GOD!

Perhaps it is really true that those closest to God are the simple folk or simply children: "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them." (St. Mark 10:14-16)
Here as the holy Orthodox Fathers interpret, Christ shows that he favours the "guileless by saying, 'For of such is the kingdom of God.' See that He did not say that the kingdom of God is 'of these', but 'of such as these'; that is to say, the kingdom of God belongs to those who by labour and struggle have acquired that guilelessness which little children have by nature (emphasis supplied).... Therefore whoever accepts the preaching of God as a little child, that is, without any doubts or unbelief, enters into the kingdom of God, and into those good things which he has even now accepted by faith." (Blessed Theophylact, for the Fathers of the Church in his Explanation of The Holy Gospel According to St. Mark, (Chrysostom Press Translation), 1993, 2nd printing 1997, pp. 84-85.

Photios+

[inserted on February 1, 2011]


SPIRITUALLY GUARD THE WAY YOU LIVE

"The question will not be how we talked and what we professed, but how we lived and what we did. Let no man deceive himself on this point. If anything is certain about the future, it is certain that there will be a judgment; and if anything is certain about judgment, it is certain that men's 'works' and 'doings' will be considered and examined in it (John 5:29; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:13). He that supposes works are of no importance, because they cannot justify us, is a very ignorant Christian. Unless he opens his eyes, he will find to his cost that if he comes to the bar of God without some evidence (emphasis supplied) of grace, he had better never have been born."

Bishop J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), in his classic and vey well received HOLINESS (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA), 2007, p. 29. [inserted on February 1, 2011]


"THE PEARL OF ETERNITY" (is within you), an excerpt from THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER, by William Law [1686-1761] [inserted on January 27, 2011]

The goodness of God breaking forth into a desire to communicate good, was the cause and the beginning of the Creation. Hence it follows, that to all eternity, God can have no thought, or intent toward the creature, but to communicate good; because He made the creature for this sole end, to receive good.

The first motive toward the creature is unchangeable; it takes its rise from God’s desire to communicate good; and it is an eternal impossibility that anything can ever come from God as His Will and purpose towards the creature, but that same love and goodness, which first created it: He must always will that to it, which He willed at the creation of it.

This is the amiable nature of God. He is good, the unchangeable, overflowing fountain of good, that sends forth nothing but good to all eternity. He is the love itself, the unmixed, immeasurable love, doing nothing but from love, to every thing that He has made; requiring nothing of all His creatures but the Spirit and fruits of that love, which brought them into being.

Oh, how sweet is this contemplation of the riches of divine love! With what attraction must it draw every thoughtful man, to return love for love to this overflowing fountain of boundless goodness? What charms has that religion which discovers to us our existence in, relation to, and dependence upon this ocean of divine love! View every part of our redemption, from Adam’s first sin to the resurrection of the dead, and you will find nothing but successive mysteries of that first love, which created angels and men. All the mysteries of the Gospel are only so many marks and proofs of God’s desiring to make His love triumph, in the removal of sin and disorder from all nature and creature.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, at home, or abroad, in the field, or at church, do all in a desire of union with Christ... and look upon all as nothing but that which exercises and increases the spirit and life of Christ in your soul. From morning to night keep Jesus in your heart, long for nothing, desire nothing, hope for nothing, but to have all that is within you changed into the Spirit and temper of the Holy Jesus. Let this be your Christianity, your church and your religion.

For this New Birth in Christ thus firmly believed, and continually desired, will do everything that you want to have done in you. It will dry up all the springs of vice, stop all the workings of evil in you, it will bring all that is good into you, it will open all the Gospel within you, and you will know what it is to be taught of God. This longing desire of your heart to be one with Christ will soon put a stop to all the vanity of your life, and nothing will be admitted to enter into your heart or proceed from it but what comes from God and returns to God: you will soon be, as it were, tied and bound in the chains of all holy affections and desires, your mouth will have a watch set upon it, your ears would willingly hear nothing that does not tend to God, nor your eyes be open but to see and find occasions of doing good.

In a word, when this faith has got both your head and your heart, it will then be with you as with the merchant who found a Pearl of great price; it will make you gladly to sell all that you have, and buy it. For all that had seized and possessed the heart of any man, whatever the merchant of this world had got together, whether of riches, power, honor, learning, or reputation, loses all this value, is counted but as dung, and willingly parted with, as soon as this glorious Pearl, the New Birth in Christ Jesus, is discovered and found by him.

This Pearl of Eternity, first of all, is the Light and Spirit of God within you, which has hitherto done you little good, because all the desire of your heart has been after the light and spirit of this world. Your reason and senses, your heart and passions, have turned all their attention to the poor concerns of this life, and you are a stranger to this principal of heaven, this riches of eternity within you. For God is not--cannot be--truly found by any worshippers but those who worship Him in Spirit and in truth; so this light and Spirit, though always within us, cannot be found, felt, or enjoyed, but by those whose whole spirit is turned to it.

Secondly, this Pearl of Eternity is the wisdom and love of God within you. In this Pearl of the Serpent-bruiser, all the Holy nature, Spirit, tempers, and inclinations of Christ, lie as in a seed, in the center of your soul. Divine wisdom and heavenly love will grow up in you, if you give but true attention to God present in your soul. Such only are priest and prophets--those who have God in themselves. Hence, there have been in all ages, even among the most illiterate, both men and women who have attained to a deep understanding of the mysteries of the wisdom and love of God in Christ Jesus. It is not art or science or skill in logic, but the opening of the divine life in the soul that can derive true understanding of the things of God.

Thirdly, this Pearl of Eternity is the church, or temple of God within you, the consecrated place of divine worship, where alone you can worship God in Spirit and in truth. In Spirit, because your spirit is that alone in you which can be united and cleave unto God, and receive the working of His divine Spirit upon you. In truth, because this adoration in Spirit is that truth and reality of which all outward forms and rites, though instituted of God, are only the figure for a time. But this worship is eternal. Accustom yourself to the holy service of this inward temple. In the midst of it is the fountain of living water, of which you may drink and live forever. There the mysteries of your redemption are celebrated, or rather opened, in life and power. There the supper of the Lamb is kept; the Bread that came down from Heaven, that gives life to the world, is done, and known in real experience, in a living sensibility of the work of God on the soul. When once you are well grounded in this inward worship, you will have learned to live unto God above time and place. For every day will be Sunday to you, and wherever you go you will have a priest, a church, and an altar along with you.

Fourthly, this Pearl of Eternity is the peace and joy of God within you. But this can only be found by the manifestation of the life and power of Jesus Christ in your soul. Be where you will, either here or there, if you live to your own will, to the pleasure of your lusts, appetites, senses and passions, and in conformity to the vain customs and spirit of this world, you are dead while you live--the seed of the woman is crucified within you, Christ can profit you nothing, you are a stranger to all that is holy and heavenly within you, and utterly incapable of finding the peace and joy of God in your soul.

How can you discover this riches of eternity treasured up within you? All depends upon your right submission and obedience to this speaking of “Go” in your soul. Stop therefore all self-activity, listen not to the suggestion of your own reason, run not on in your own will, but be retired, silent, passive and humble attentive to this new risen Light within you.

Open your heart, your eyes and ears to all its impression. Let it enlighten, teach, frighten, torment, judge, and condemn you as it pleases. Turn not away from it, hear all it says, seed for no relief out of it, consult not with flesh and blood, but with a heart full of faith and resignation to God, pray only this prayer: that God’s kingdom may come, and His will be done in your soul. Stand faithfully in this state of preparation, thus given up to the Spirit of God, and then the work of your repentance will be wrought in God, and you will soon find that He that is in you, is much greater that all that is against you.


TRUE CHRISTIANITY REQUIRES A LIVING FAITH

"For true Christianity consists, not in words, nor in any external show, but in a living faith, from which proceed fruits meet for repentance, and all manner of Christian virtues, as from Christ himself. For as faith is hidden from human view, and is invisible, it must be manifested by its fruits; inasmuch as faith derives from Christ all that is good, righteous, and blessed."

Johann Arndt, German Mystic

[inserted on January 19, 2011]


THE TRAGEDY IN ARIZONA [inserted on January 11, 2011]

Our hearts cry out for the victims of this heinous crime. May the Lord have mercy on their souls and provide His grace for the injured and relatives involved. Let us pray for them all, including the perpetrator whom we Christians must also consider our neighbour even if he is our enemy.
However, he must pay society's price for such despicable behaviour.
Let us also refrain from jumping to conclusions about what caused this violent rampage. There will be a tendency to blame the low level spiteful commentaries of parties along the political spectrum. Perhaps there are some grains of truth in this, but first examine ourselves from a Christian perspective. As the father head of the household, do you live a Christian example? As the nurturing mother, do you also provide a spiritual role model for your daughter and sons; or, do you share similarities with the mom who hired a hitman to bump off the mother of her teenage cheerleader aspirant daughter's chief rival to affect the competition outcome?
Men, do we believe in settling disputes with violence or threats or do we openly support it on the theatre screen as well as the home tv? Do we use words like "target" something or someone politically. Do we openly show our hostility toward different ethnic groupings in front of our children? Do we teach our children Christian ethics? I.e., do we involve ourselves directly in our children's lives? To not do so is to abandon our familial and spiritual duty. If we do, shame on us!
Let's control our rage and leave the prosecution to the proper secular authorities. Do not harass the perpetrator's parents. Observe and accept the Amish example (see link immediately below) and have consideration for them in their grief as well.
Don't be bitter, be Christlike, no matter how difficult the circumstances may be. The Lord expects nothing less from each and everyone of us.

Photios+


[THE AMISH EXAMPLE OF FORGIVENESS: to be read in conjunction with the Arizona spiritual message above]: Fr. Photios (W), WE CAN LEARN A LOT FROM THE AMISH ABOUT 'FORGIVENESS' [inserted on January 13, 2011]

Also see Fr. Photios (W), TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK: JESUS IS SERIOUS ABOUT IT! [inserted on January 14, 2011]


JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY

Jesus saith to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. [St. John 14:6]

It couldn’t be any clearer than that! [inserted on January 1, 2011]


SPIRITUAL ADVICE FROM THE DIDACHE (about 100 A.D.)

"It is the way of persecutors of good people, of those hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing the reward of righteousness, not adhering to what is good but for what is evil, from whom gentleness and patience are far away, loving worthless things, pursuing reward, having no mercy for the poor, not working on behalf of the oppressed, not knowing him who made them, murderers of children, corrupters of God's creation, turning away from someone in need, oppressing the afflicted, advocates of the wealthy, lawless judges of the poor, utterly sinful. May you be delivered, children, from all these things!" [inserted on January 10, 2011]


MORALITY AND DOGMA ARE INEXTRICABLY LINKED

The Gospel's moral teaching "is inseparable from its dogmatic doctrine".

Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, The Old Testament in the New Testament Church, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York, 1992, p. 11 [inserted on Jamuary 16, 2011]


NO DIVINE RIGHT OF UNIVERSAL AUTHORITY FOR THE BISHOP OF ROME

Rene-Francois Guettee, THE PAPACY (a must read)

Excerpt:

"HISTORY shows us that the Fathers and Bishops, during the first eight centuries, have given to Holy Scripture the same interpretation that we have just set forth. If the Bishop of Rome had by divine right enjoyed universal authority in the Church, if, as the successor of St. Peter, he had been the vicar and representative of Christ, the necessary centre of the Church, there is no doubt that these prerogatives would have been recognized by Christian antiquity, the faithful guardian of the Faith and of Divine Institutions. Though the Church suffer, after the lapse of ages, some decline on her human side, that is to say, in the men that govern her, and form part of her, it will not be assumed that this decay appeared at the outset. It is natural and logical to go back to the beginnings of an institution to become acquainted with its true character; it is there we find the necessary starting-point from which to trace its development, its progress, or lapses, age by age. If we prove that the primitive Church did not recognize in the Bishop of Rome the authority which he now assumes, that this authority is only an usurpation dating from the ninth century, it must necessarily be concluded, that this authority is not of Divine origin, and that consequently, it is the duty of every Church and all the faithful to protest against it, and combat with it.

"Now we can affirm, after deep and conscientious study of the historical and doctrinal remains of the first eight centuries of the Church, that the Bishop of Rome has no ground for claiming universal authority, that such authority has foundation neither in the Word of God nor the laws of the Church."

THE PAPACY, p.17

[inserted on December 19, 2010]


A PRAYER BY ST. JOHN OF KRONSTADT

"How good Thou art, Lord, and how near art Thou to us - so near that we may always converse with Thee, be comforted by Thee, breathe through Thee, be enlightened by Thee, find peace in Thee, obtain spiritual breadth in Thee. Lord! teach me simplicity of love for Thee and my neighbour, so that I can be ever with Thee, that I may ever find peace in Thee. Lord! grant that I may not for a single moment have fellowship with the most abominable, most evil enemy the Devil, neither by malice, nor pride, nor envy, nor avarice, nor by love of gain, nor gluttony, nor impure thoughts, nor blasphemy, nor despondency, nor falsehood, nor by anything sinful. Grant that I may ever be wholly Thine."

Saint John of Kronstadt, ON PRAYER (extracts from his writings), Father John's Prayers, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y., 1994 (third printing), p. 72

[inserted on December 16, 2010]


LOOKING 'INWARD' IS THE KEY

"One should therefore emphasize that the divine means of Word and sacrament are concerned with the inner man. Hence it is not enough that we hear the Word with our outward ear, but we must let it penetrate to our heart, so that we may hear the Holy Spirit speak there, that is, with vibrant emotion and comfort feel the sealing of the Spirit and the power of the Word. Nor is it enough to be baptized, but the inner man, where we have put on Christ in Baptism, must also keep Christ on and bear witness to him in our outward life. Nor is it enough to have received the Lord's Supper externally, but the inner man must truly be fed with that blessed food. Nor is it enough to pray outwardly with our mouth, but true prayer, and the best prayer, occurs in the inner man, and it either breaks forth in words or remains in the soul, yet God will find and hit upon it. Nor, again, is it enough to worship God in an external temple, but the inner man worships God best in his own temple, whether or not he is in an external temple at the time."

Philipp Jakob Spener, Pia Desideria ("Pious Wishes")


THE HOLY FATHERS' SPIRITUAL IMPORTANCE TO TRUE CHRISTIANITY

Fr. Seraphim (Rose), THE HOLY FATHERS
SURE GUIDE TO TRUE CHRISTIANITY [inserted on December 7, 2010]


WHO IS THE TRUE ISRAEL AND DOES IT INCLUDE THOSE WHO HAVE ABANDONED THE FAITH?

"We must never forget that the Fathers of the Church considered themselves to be the true spiritual children of Abraham, that the Church considered itself to be the New Israel... (and when we speak of Israel we mean the true (emphasis supplied) Israel, the spiritual sons of Abraham, those who have the faith given by God to His chosen people, not those who have abandoned this faith. The real sons of Abraham are the Church of Christ, and not those carnal descendants, the Jewish race)."

Blessed Dr. Alexandre Kalomiros, THE RIVER OF FIRE, in VI & VII, respectively, 1980. [inserted on December 10, 2010]


THE MAIN CHARACTERISTIC OF THE TRUE FAITH

"What is the profoundest characteristic of Orthodox life, the quintessential characteristic of Orthodox piety, the sign of authentic Orthodoxy as well as a premise of the true faith? It is turning inward." [inserted on November 30, 2010]

Dr. Alexandre Kalomiros


Johann Arndt, TRUE CHRISTIANITY (BOOKS I AND II: four books of True Christianity 1605-1609: First American Edition, 1809)
will be up continuously [inserted on November 18, 2010]

Johann Arndt was a German Lutheran mystic (1555-1621), whose TRUE CHRISTIANITY is a spiritual masterpiece. St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (1724-1783), one of the greatest Orthodox saints, thought highly of Arndt's TRUE CHRISTIANITY and recommended to a nobleman that he read the Scriptures first and then Arndt:
"However, Arndt’s book was very well known to St. Tikhon, who indeed valued it very highly. His letters contain a reference that leaves not the slightest doubt in this regard. As St. Tikhon wrote to an unidentified young nobleman in St. Petersburg: 'There is no more convenient place for you than that what has been indicated: you should move there and begin to read the Holy Bible, with a discussion of the various deeds of God that it presents. And always, morning and night, study it and Arndt; you should only skim other books. And sharpen your mind and your will with respect to what is good; and await the call of God, whether and when God summons you, and thus remain at peace.'8 Hence St. Tikhon placed Arndt directly after the Bible and higher than all 'other' books." (quote from “Two Works about True Christianity: St. Tikhon of Zadonsk and Johann Arndt” Pavel Khondzinskii Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii, 2004, no.2: 62-73)

DECLARE OURSELVES IN ALL SINCERITY AS UNWORTHY OF OUR LORD'S FAVOUR!

"The contempt of ourselves is the first step to obtain acceptance with God : and nothing more draws the eyes of Heaven upon us, to favour us, than this self-abasement. Whosoever then is desirous to find grace and mercy, let him declare himself in his own judgment unworthy, altogether unworthy of them ; and let him account himself as one that is nothing. But whosoever seems something to himself, is not yet wretched enough nor humbled enough in his own opinion ; and consequently not capable of divine grace ; whereupon St. Paul says, 'if any man esteem himself something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.'"

Johann Arndt, TRUE CHRISTIANITY, Book I, Chapter XIX, The Wise Poor Man, p. 157.

WITHIN THEE

"But since the world, which thou art to strive against, is not without thee, but within thee, it follows, that it is also to be conquered not without, but within thee."

Johann Arndt,

JOHANN ARNDT QUOTES [inserted on January 18, 2011]


THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WORKS OF FAITH

"Faith without works is dead (James 2:26), and the works of faith are love, peace, long-suffering, mercy, humility, rest from all works (as God Himself rested from His works), bearing of the Cross, and life in the Spirit. Only such faith can be considered true. True faith cannot be without works; one who truly believes will unfailingly have works as well."

St. Seraphim of Sarov, SPIRITUAL INSTRUCTIONS, LITTLE RUSSIAN PHILOKALIA (St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Fourth Edition, 1996), Vol. I, No. 4. FAITH, p. 25.


OURSELVES

Don't look at others to see if they have changed themselves. Our concentration must be upon ourselves, our interior, our hearts. You and I must throw ourselves upon God's mercy. We need to love Our Lord as He loves us, totally, with absolute spiritual commitment, not the nominal, lukewarm Christianity that is infected with the secularism of the Devil. Difficult as it is, we should approach Christ with childlike love and devotion. Never be ashamed of your love for the Lord. Shout His name from every rooftop, reminding all within the range of our voices that Jesus Christ is the sole route of salvation and He will return in His Second Coming to square all spiritual accounts. How will He find you and me spiritually? When He reviews the evidence in our cases, will He be satisfied that we have 'walked the walk as well as talked the talk'? Will we have changed our hearts, softened them in consideration of our neighbours? Will there be evidence of our love for our enemies as well as our friends and casual acquaintances? In other words, will our faith in Christ have borne fruit, the fruit of following the Lord's commandments as well as believing in Him? Belief alone is not good enough; after all, the Evil One believes. Our Lord's Way is narrow, not broad. The world will hate us as it hates Him. We must suffer with Him as we take up the Cross and journey toward His Kingdom, which is not of this world. Are we 'too late' to spiritually soldier for Jesus? No, we can change our lives to follow Christ as we live out our temporary existence in this world. But NOW is the time, not later, to 'get with it'!
May the Lord bless us to avoid procrastination, which could be spiritually fatal.

Photios+


FINDING YOUR WAY TO LIFE

St. Maximos the Confessor:

"If you wish to find the way that leads to life, look for it in the Way who says, 'I am the way, the door, the truth and the life' (John 10:7; 14:6), and there you will find it. Only let your search be diligent and painstaking, for 'few there are that find it' (Matt. 7:14) and if you are not among the few you will find yourself with the many."


THE CHURCH DOES NOT JUDGE 'OTHERS'

"Inasmuch as the earthly and visible Church is not the fullness and completeness of the whole Church which the Lord has appointed to appear at the final judgment of all creation, she acts and knows only within her own limits; and (according to the words of Paul the Apostle, to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 5. 12) does not judge the rest of mankind, and only looks upon those as excluded, that is to say, not belonging to her, who exclude themselves. The rest of mankind, whether alien from the Church, or united to her by ties which God has not willed to reveal to her, she leaves to the judgment of the great day. The Church on earth judges for herself only, according to the grace of the Spirit, and the freedom granted her through Christ, inviting also the rest of mankind to the unity and adoption of God in Christ; but upon those who do not hear her appeal she pronounces no sentence, knowing the command of her Saviour and Head, 'not to judge another man's servant' (Rom. 14. 4).

Alexei Khomiakov (1804-1860), THE CHURCH IS ONE



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