BLOG

By Endurance We Conquer

Apr 11th, 2017

Bro. R. L. Rodenbush

by R. L. Rodenbush

 

Endurance is not a default position. It is not opting for neutral. Endurance is a mindset that takes courage, determination and fortitude. It is natural to want to succeed, to reach a goal, or win an elusive victory. But what if you’re divinely asked to endure? It’s a biblical principle but difficult to live out. It’s much easier to accept healing than sickness, blessing than sacrifice, joy rather than pain. Yet, many are simply asked to endure. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life” (James 1:12). When facing a trial or difficulty you are likely to be told: “Just hold on,” “Keep on keeping on,” or “Just endure.” At the time such remarks, however well-intentioned, can be painful. Yet when a test or hardship goes on for long periods, the fire of endurance has to be stoked and continuously monitored.

The word endurance has become synonymous with the book titled “Endurance,” that chronicles the expedition of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. The telling of Shackleton’s amazing story by Alfred Lansing defines endurance better than any other. The vessel they would navigate through the treacherous waters was rechristened “Endurance” by Shackleton, in keeping with his family motto: “fortitudine vincimus” – “by endurance we conquer.”
Man climbing an icy wallShackleton had been taught from an early age that endurance was not a position of weakness but strength in action, fortitude displayed.

In a materialistic world of instant self-gratification, teaching endurance is more of a challenge than ever before. Yet I do believe that “by endurance we conquer.” The transfer of this message to the next generation is essential. Prosperity doctrines, surface spirituality or feel-good religion will not build in our children the strength or determination they need to withstand the attacks of this world. “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).

Shackleton was described thus: “Whatever his mood – whether it was gay and breezy, or dark with rage – he had one pervading characteristic: he was purposeful.” I pray that a sense of destiny and purpose will fall upon us and upon our children as we contend for the doctrine so faithfully delivered to us.

It’s easy to make fun of the old “Hold the Fort” mentality. Perhaps that song wasn’t the best musical effort of that era, but it did have a message; that protecting and defending what we believe and standing ready, enduring whatever comes our way, was honorable and necessary.

We live in dark times. In the last day sound doctrine, morality and godliness will not be endured (2 Timothy 4:3). The temptation to compromise, to lay aside our heritage, to blend in to the ecumenical circle, to yield to conformity, complacency and acceptance, must not overtake us. By endurance we conquer.

Fair to Middling

Apr 4th, 2017

Bro. Paul Mooneyby Paul Mooney

 

“Oh, fair to middling, I guess.”

Such was a common greeting among the farmers gathered at the Farm Bureau store or the grain elevator to gossip about the latest news or to track the price of corn. My father, and the others, mostly greeted one another with the question, “How are things going?” And the answer was almost always the same – a casual, mindless and non-specific mumble, “Ahh, fair to middling, I guess” – humbly admitting they were in the middle, not so bad, not so good.

pullmistertractorThe middle perhaps seemed an appropriate description for the Hoosier farmers. They were a modest breed of men who helped harvest one another’s crops, shared ideas, worked together and enjoyed deep friendship, and most all, when I was a boy, they were enjoying post-World War II prosperity.

Middling is an interesting concept, and in some situations can be a good thing. For example, in a fair society, creating a bridge out of poverty in order to pull people up economically to the middle class is considered a good and right thing to do. However, to do so at the expense of robbing others or designing a system that traps everyone, in spite of their talent, education, hard work or genius, in a mediocre prison is oppressive. History has proven that this type of societal manipulation typically stems from evil intent.

 

Middling, or being in the middle, when it comes to ideology, belief systems and moral codes can be dangerous.

 

Societies, institutions or individuals may aspire to reach a middle position out of altruistic aims; however, the concessions, accommodations, adjustments or compromises required to attain a “happy medium” often make neither side happy. A moral stance is just that, a high ground that allows one perspective to see the chaos, confusion and weakness of the other side. Coming down from this vantage point to meet the opposition in the middle doesn’t project strength or virtue – it does, however, demonstrate that one is willing to give up something. For this reason, meeting the adversary in the middle weakens one’s position, creates dissolution of the original value system and ultimately will render it less effective.


As the disciples of Jesus obediently made their way to the Upper Room we should note that they were not headed toward a mediocre middle. They were about to be born again.


“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). From that moment, the disciples could never say they were “fair to middling.” There was no middle. Establishing an acceptable middle was not their calling. They made it their mission to preach Christ and Him crucified, not to seek a middle ground upon which they could establish a middle theology. Middling was not their destiny. Their message was controversial. It was revolutionary, and it required full conversion, not confluence.

To their own Jewish brothers they declared, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh…” (Acts 2:16-17).aguidetomypath

From the Upper Room, the Apostles were left with no options. The truth had now gripped their minds and their hearts. The words of the prophets now made sense. The mission of the Messiah was revealed. Jews and Gentiles were now and forever together in Christ (Galatians 3:14). The middle wall was gone (Ephesians 2:14).

 

In today’s complex spiritual climate, the most devastating attitude is the attempted personalization of the truth, as if there is a truth for you and a truth for me. Modernity has intoxicated many into thinking that there is no right or wrong. We live in a culture of strict code, enforced by the politically correct and tolerance extended only to one side of an argument – and it’s not really a side at all – it’s the middle. It’s the popular meme expressed in the question, “Can’t we all just agree to disagree?”

 

I strongly urge us to ask the question, “Exactly what do we give up to come to the middle?”

 

We have to admit that in some ways we have given up ground. I see authority being drained out of our preaching and teaching. Social activism has become the new priority. This was not the way of the Apostles. They refused to forsake preaching to serve tables (Acts 6). The Apostle Paul desired to be in Rome in person, face-to-face, to impart the truth and spiritual gifts. And let’s not fail to note his didactic preaching and single message for all believers, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

Anything that is not faithful to God’s Word is not a service to God. The times challenge us to care about every sermon, every song. Once we exalt our own opinions, or treat the middle of the road as an honorable position, we have failed. Anointed preaching imparts a vision of the truth’s power. Anointed preaching helps us see the truth as a contrast to the world’s agenda. We are called to holiness; we are called to defend the message of a new birth in Jesus. We are called to take up the cross, to engage in the fight for the greatest message ever given to mankind. This does not make us intractable, difficult or negative. This makes us committed. Mediocrity will not change the world. Aiming for the middle will not advance the Apostolic message.

Critically Reading and Listening, Part 1

Mar 28th, 2017

ibc-faculty-killmonby Bobby Killmon

 

 

I always hear from elders to “listen and read critically” sermons and other commentaries. How can I do that well?

What a great question. There is no way to treat the breadth of that here in the brevity of this article, but perhaps we can treat one example in the next couple of column articles.

How we approach the Bible matters. Reading and listening to others discerningly is necessary because one’s theological starting points can distort what they write about Scripture. The importance of understanding how we approach Scripture is shown in the ramifications for what it does to biblical inspiration and inerrancy. Unwittingly, and I believe in most cases unconsciously, some have repeated things they’ve read or heard without realizing the consequences. This is especially true in dealing with liberal scholarship and how it makes its way into pulpits through things like the liberal development of “historical criticism.”

What is historical criticism and where did it come from? This development was “born” out of “hermeneutical presuppositions” which are our assumptions we hold when we approach reading the Bible. This can be seen by asking three very simple questions and realizing that our starting points determine our conclusions. They are as follows:

What is the Bible? There are basically three groups of answers to this question, although there are subsets in each. There is what has been called the “historical grammatical” approach that believes the Bible is the Word of God. “Historical” means, in this approach, the text is a true witness to God’s interaction in history and it has been recorded and preserved for us in the Bible.

The liberal approach of historical criticism suggests the Bible isn’t the word of God, but “contains” the word of God. “Historical” then means the text is a product of people through the historical process. The liberal critic assumes the Word of God is there, but it was “mixed up” with other human words that were a part of this historic process.

leadersarereadersFinally, there is post-modern skepticism or post-modern hermeneutics which says the Bible is merely a “human” document. They claim there is no word of God in it at all. They further say the Bible is simply a reflection of the religious experiences of individuals and communities.

Directly out of these conclusions the second question is already answered. How does our view of what the Bible is affect interpretation? Or what is the “task” of the reader or preacher? The Bible-believing approach (historical grammatical) says we are to understand the text correctly, then proclaim it.

The liberal historical critical approach (Bible “contains” the word of God) says if there are “words of God” and “human words,” the task of the reader or preacher is to discover which is which. We are to “sort out” the word of God, to finally “discover” the word of God, then proclaim it.

The post-modern skeptical approach (Bible is merely a “human” document) says simply read the Bible and see if anything agrees with our own desires for religious experience. This approach claims there’s nothing authoritative in the Bible; it’s simply another example of religious ideas, which can be used or dismissed as such.

So how does this affect teaching and preaching? How does this affect methodology? I will show in the next article that inerrancy and inspiration are at risk.

Creating Delinquents

Mar 21st, 2017

by R. L. Rodenbushibc-faculty-rob-rodenbush

 

In a South African game park known for rescuing animals from extinction, there was a problem.

Approximately 39 endangered white rhinos had been attacked and killed. Poaching was ruled out as a cause since the valuable rhino horns were left untouched. So game wardens began monitoring activity within the park, and what they found was fascinating. A group of younger orphaned elephants that had been transferred from another game park were the culprits.

Unusual, since elephants are typically herbivores and attacking rhinos went against their very nature.

The problem started nearly 20 years earlier when there were too many elephants in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The proposed solution was to cull the adult population of elephants and save the children, who could be easily transported. As CBS News reported back in 2000, “The intentions may have been good but the program created a whole generation of traumatized orphans thrown together without any adults to teach them how to behave.”

Eventually these elephants became lonely, troubled and aggressive and became known as “the Delinquents.”

A single elephant.As I read this story, I thought, How could people so easily miss the mark?  Did game wardens really think they could kill off the adults in a population and not have any consequences? That everything would be ok?

But when you think about it, as a society we are doing something very similar as we distance our children from traditional parenting and the influence of elders, teachers and preachers.

When a parent squanders or destroys influences of righteousness and holiness, how can that parent expect the child to grow to embrace these essentials? Sadly, it is often only when a child is in a crisis of rebellion that parents want the youth pastor, Sunday school teachers and pastor to save the day. But, unfortunately, after years of killing off their influence by badmouthing the church, picking and choosing which standards to enforce in the home, by not making church a priority; the time for intervention has long passed.

In Africa, there was no salvaging the delinquent elephants. Researchers tried everything they knew to try to retrain the creatures. They showed them love, worked to try and teach them how adult elephants behave. But ultimately, they became too dangerous, attacking more animals and even humans and had to be put down.

We are afforded a window of opportunity – a time to plant the right seeds and make an investment in the lives of our children. But, too often we resist the authority in our lives and in the lives of our children. Let us not kill the voices of reason, the voices of wisdom, the voices of influence, the voices of sound doctrine, and of right living.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37)

CONNECT 2017 recap

Mar 16th, 2017

On February 23, 2017, Indiana Bible College hosted 158 high school juniors and seniors. The guests were welcomed by the student body for three days of events. Thursday afternoon was the beginning of a great weekend. Students from all over the country came expecting great things to happen.


IBC CONNECT is designed for potential students to experience first-hand what it is like to attend IBC.


Each CONNECT student is assigned an IBC img_5208student; everyone attends classes, chapel, choir, and lunch together. After check-in on Thursday, IBC students, CONNECT students and staff were all a part of the CONNECT SOCIAL. From pizza to archery tag, everyone had a fun time.

A specific class schedule is designed for CONNECT weekend. Students have the option to choose course offerings that highlight each minor offered at Indiana
Bible College. Chapel typically happens on Tuesday/Thursday at IBC; however, during
CONNECT we had a Friday chapel where Bro. Mooney challenged students, “Can we do it again?” One of the most life-changing events for both IBC and CONNECT students is the Friday night Worship Studies Concert. IBC Singers, IBC Chorale, Unidos, and IBC Praise were among those who ministered to the CONNECT students at the concert. Many IBC students who recall being a part of previous CONNECT events were among those singing and playing on the platform this year. As the concert progressed, the Spirit of God fell and filled the entire room.

Lift up holy hands.Kaitlyn Doublin, a CONNECT student from North Carolina, said, “Being able to have a real IBC experience was exactly what I needed from God. From meeting new people, feeling enriched in ministry driven courses, and having God move over my heart during chapel and the concert, it was worth the trip.”

IBC CONNECT was a powerful experience for all of those involved. In one weekend CONNECT students experienced all three aspects of the Bible school experience: academic, spiritual and social life. We are excited to see applications come in from all around the country to become part of the IBC family. It is never too early to make plans to CONNECT attend next year, February 22-24, 2018. (click here for more information)

Students in class


The future of ministry is being prepared here, SAY YES.


 

Page 1 of 212
Categories
Sign up for Email Updates
Stay in the know with the latest from Indiana Bible College. Sign up for our newsletter below.