BLOG

We Can’t Just Sing Louder

Oct 10th, 2018

Robert L. Rodenbush

 

by Robert L. Rodenbush

 

In August of 2018 we went to the 50th Jubilee Celebration of the UPCI Church of Ghana, West Africa. In 1968 my parents became the first resident missionaries to Ghana, where they spent 10 years pioneering UPCI churches, Bible schools, primary schools and preaching points all over the country of Ghana and also in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin.

It was an honor and a dream come true to return to the country with our entire immediate family. I spent my childhood formative years in West Africa, and it still feels like home.

Elmina Castle

During our trip we took a day to drive to Elmina Castle located east of Ghana’s capital city of Accra. It is in the Cape Coast region, a beautiful stretch of land on the ocean that is home to many fishing villages. The progress of the nation has reached much slower into this region and the people still suffer under the strain of great poverty. Tourism to the rain forest and the old castles is vital to the area.

Elmina Castle, in deep irony, is a whitewashed stone building. It has stood on the coast of West Africa since 1482. It was built by the Portuguese as a trading outpost for gold and other exports and to house missionaries. Quickly however, it was discovered there was more money to be made in trading people rather than goods and in the 1500s the trans-Atlantic slave trade began and lasted for more than 300 years, captured and operated by both the Dutch and the British.

The tour of Elmina Castle is sobering. To see the actual location where the atrocities of the slave trade were performed is completely disturbing. I wept as we walked through the dungeons that ultimately lead to the narrow opening called the point of “no return” – A small window-like opening where men and women, chained together five per shackle were loaded into ships like cargo. How any human could perpetrate such evil upon another is simply unfathomable.

Chapel at Elmina Castle

Chapel in the center of the main courtyard has the brown brick exposed.

For me however, the most egregious sight at Elmina is the church building that sits prominently in the courtyard of the castle. It is a focal point. The Europeans who occupied the castle were said to have conducted services there. Despite the original mission to preach Christianity to the African people, the doors of the church and its services were not open to the captured souls trapped mere yards away. The church existed so that life could proceed as normally as possible for the governor of the castle, the officers and their families, missionaries many of whom lived in luxury, protected by the same walls that served to confine and imprison the precious souls deemed merchandise and marked for torture and trade. One tour guide told us that during services the missionaries, soldiers and other attendees had to sing their hymns loudly as to block out the cries that came from the slaves starving and living in squalid conditions just below them.

There is a plaque at the exit of the tour addressed, “In everlasting memory of the anguish of our ancestors,” it reads: “May those who died rest in peace. May those who return find their roots. May humanity never again perpetrate such injustice against humanity. We the living vow to uphold this.” Considering the audacity of the church’s participation in this wicked oppression, I breathed the prayer, “And may the church never again blind ourselves in a false mission until we no longer see lost around us. May we not just sing our songs louder and louder so that we don’t hear the cries of those who need our message the most. And finally, may we do our best to fight against the evil of racism, be it perpetrated intentionally or unintentionally, in innocence or in ignorance, consciously or unconsciously. May God help us all.”

How to Stop Effeminacy

May 1st, 2018

Bobby Killmon

 

 

by Bobby Killmon

How do we stop the growing amount of effeminacy that’s infiltrating our movement?

Well, first we have to work on definitions. Paul lays out clearly in I Cor. 6:9-10 that those who are effeminate (Grk. μαλακοὶ) will not inherit the Kingdom of God. So, we must admit this isn’t a peripheral issue. But what does Paul mean and how do we stop it?

Let’s look at the historical usage of effeminate (Grk. μαλακοὶ) first. Conservatives like Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon, Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, says, “The terms malakoi and molles could be used broadly to refer to effeminate or unmanly men.” Roy Ward agrees showing malakos was even used to describe a soft pillow or cloth but, “when used negatively, the term could mean faint-hearted, lacking in self-control, weak or morally weak with no link to same-gender sexual behavior.”

There are even liberal admissions against redefining trends among liberal scholarships, such as Dale Martin who says, “Why has this obvious translation been universally rejected in recent English versions? Doubtless, because contemporary scholars have been loath to consider effeminacy a moral category…” After marshaling a ton of historical proof he says to claim the word really refers just to boy prostitutes or, worse, “passive homosexuals” is, “…by this time just willful ignorance or dishonesty.” Liberals often try to redefine terms to stop truth. This is our first battle.

Secondly, we are in a difficult moment where the culture is against this biblical value. This must be taken seriously in discipling what our kids watch. Three personal case studies may help illustrate the point. One young man we’ve worked away from effeminacy stated his favorite television show growing up was Will and Grace. Another young man said his favorite show was Glee. A third said his favorite game to play as a young man was titled “Little Mother.” All three were clearly effeminate. There is a direct correlation between what we see and how we are trained.

glasses and a tv remote

Deut. 6 is clear that we should “train a child up in the way it should go.” The whole passage is about moments in life where values are passed. To be honest, shouldn’t we admit many have given these moments to the culture? As a result, adults and their children are being “programmed.” As people of God, shouldn’t we acknowledge this is one of the frontline issues? Shouldn’t we as ministers teach that if you turn your children over to Rome to be raised, you shouldn’t be surprised when they walk, talk and act like Caesar?

Being effeminate is identified by Paul in I Cor. 6:9 as sin. We need to find the courage to stand against the liberal “redefining” culture and the influx of programming that seeks to inform our young men on values. How can we win this battle? First, it means not allowing certain behaviors to be in front of them. Turn it off. Don’t buy it for them. Don’t allow it in your home. Teach and preach that we shouldn’t. Second, name things. IBC Instructor Chris Henderson pointed out a great book on pornography with a powerful principle. When you see porn, name it to yourself and your family. In the mall, walking down the street, on a billboard say, “That’s pornography.” The same is true with effeminacy. We need to see it and name what it is when we happen across it in public. Come out and be separate means first, define what is not us, then separating ourselves. Both are critical.

Who Shall Roll Us Away The Stone?

Apr 20th, 2018

Paul Mooney

 

 

by Paul Mooney

“And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” (Mark 16:3).

It was a “great stone” that sealed the tomb, and those coming early in the morning to anoint the body of Jesus with sweet spices were discussing the obvious question: “Who could roll it away?” It was an obstruction and a stumbling block – a hindrance against what they had come to do. The stone had to be moved.

This is, in essence, the same question that faces the Church today. There are obstacles that seem to keep us from completing the calling and purpose upon our lives and ministries, and it is easy to feel defeated against such great obstructions. So we question, “Who will roll away the stone?”

Christians, especially in Western culture, are living in a new era of anti-Christian opposition and moral decay, much of which is sustained by extreme political agendas, an educational system dominated by liberal biases, and an amoral entertainment industry. The consequences for sharing one’s testimony, public witnessing, and praying in schools are disconcerting. It is alarming to observe many in public office so lightly suggest changes to our laws that will suppress or even eliminate the religious freedoms upon which this country was founded. Christians are more and more reluctant to acknowledge their belief in Christ for fear of losing employers, business relationships, friends and family. This tension-filled atmosphere becomes a stumbling block even among Spirit-filled believers. And sadly, it’s not just those in the secular world that are taking a casual response to the floodtide of carnality, worldliness and compromise.

The world is downplaying the ignorance and wickedness that pervades modern life. It is not a small thing. Just a few days ago, we remember the shooting in a public school in Florida that killed 17 people, the majority of them just teenagers. The staggering number of friends and family who are ignoring God’s sovereignty and turning away from the values of faithfulness, righteousness and holiness should cause us concern. Satanic oppression is increasing, as are false prophets. We should ponder carefully what we would be without the infilling of the Holy Ghost. What will we be without a firm belief in the Bible as the inspired “Word of God”? George Steiner of Cambridge University wrote: “Bible literacy is passing quickly in the deep freeze of academicism.” This is a dangerous thing — let us not be so callous to believe that we as Apostolics are isolated from the effect of this societal transformation.

We must ponder, “Who shall roll us away the stone?” We cannot be deceived into the arrogant belief that by our human might or power we can do much to counteract great evil. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Let us humbly approach our callings and our challenges and the pressing need for revival. “Who can roll away the stone?”

Self-reliance traps us in our own abilities and ideas. No matter how sincere the attempt, merely applying our knowledge of the latest secular business strategies, implementing great marketing plans or imitating corporate leadership schemes will not move the great stone. I am not suggesting that we not strive for excellence and professionalism, but that alone cannot be the goal. It cannot take precedence over the Spirit. Men do not possess the answers or know the way, but we do know if we act outside the wisdom of the Spirit, we will be lost.

The Church will not move the stone of confusion, wickedness and sin by imitating the world’s entertainment and the world’s methodology.

Consider this poignant quote from Justice William O. Douglas written in 1976. “As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such a twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air—however slight—lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”

We know that night comes. But Jesus is the light of the world and the light of our lives. Our strength lies only in the anointing and power of the Holy Ghost. Have faith!

“And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great” (Mark 16:4).

Lion Lights

Apr 3rd, 2018

Robert L. Rodenbush

 

 

by Robert Rodenbush

Richard Turere, like many Masai Tribe boys in Kenya, was sent to guard and herd his family’s cattle at just age nine. Protecting the cattle and livestock is an important job in this area of Africa, as these valuable animals represent the majority of the family’s livelihood and survival. At night the cattle are corralled into small fenced areas called “bomas” and are particularly vulnerable to attack by larger, predatory animals that roam the plains of this spectacular country. Turere particularly hated lions. The hungry animals would often find their way into the bomas to attack and eat the goats, sheep and cows that his family depended on.

In 2013, Turere was brought to the United States to deliver a TED Talk discussing his creative solution to his problem with lions. Turere had tried many things to keep the lions away. He tried building a roaring fire, he made a scarecrow but nothing was working. So Turere, who loved tinkering and taking apart radios, fans and other electrical gadgets and household objects, made a great discovery. Turere invented “lion lights.” He rigged his fencing with flashlights, solar lights and other pieces of scrap that kept light moving around to different areas of the pin, so to the lions it looked like someone was there at all times. It was quite a discovery and families all over Kenya began to use the idea to save their animals.

The very idea that an American father would send his son to guard an animal against a lion is foreign to us. But the Masai teach their sons at a very early age to defend their property and fight off intruders. As we move into darker and darker times, and as the enemy tries his best to come after our precious children, it becomes imperative that we teach them to fight and guard against the enemy.

A scarecrow representation of our faith will not fool the enemy. Simply setting up something that looks like the Spirit is not going to work. And, a fire in our hearts is good, but unless we get it moving in our hearts, in our families and in our churches it will be of little consequence. We transfer the Apostolic message and the fire of the Spirit to the next generation. They must have a real, moving, life-changing experience with the Holy Ghost.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Is it Better to Call Ourselves Simply “Christians”?

Mar 27th, 2018

Bobby Killmon

 

 

by Bobby Killmon

A new convert asked, if the Pentecostal movement has only come into existence in the past two centuries, why should we call ourselves Pentecostal? Wouldn’t it be better to call ourselves simply Christians?

First of all, there has always been an Apostolic Church. Further, the NT Church was started on the day of Pentecost (this is why we use the term Pentecostal) and was led by the Apostles whom Christ chose (which is why we say we are Apostolic). You cannot be “of Christ” without following the Apostles doctrine.

There are a few great resources to show there’s always been a Church that stood for what the Apostles defined as necessary for anyone to be saved (repentance, baptism in Jesus name, and the infilling of the Spirit evidenced initially by speaking in tongues). From Jerusalem to Great Britain shows this well, even citing three Popes that endorsed Jesus name baptism. Marvin Arnold’s Apostolic History Timeline shows the same type of evidence. Thomas Weisser’s book After the Way Called Heresy is a short but good resource as well. History clearly shows multiple examples of this. For example, Martin Luther, in his work the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, discusses some baptizing in Jesus name. Or when we see multiple times where Catholic leadership is trying to “reign in” monks who dare to “baptize in the name of Jesus only” throughout the Middle Ages. This clearly shows the truth of God having an Apostolic witness throughout Church history. There is always a faithful remnant somewhere, even if it got down to just eight souls in Noah’s day.

Stone with Jesus written on it

It really is true that other man-made doctrines came later and are not original to the Bible (the trinity, being saved at repentance only, infant baptism, sprinkling as opposed to immersion, praying to Mary, communion as necessary for salvation, etc.). Many have rejected salvation which God gave us on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and “do church” in a way foreign to the way the Apostles did. This is why we define ourselves as Apostolic Pentecostals. It simply means we are biblical Christians. There are others who reject reading and implementing the Bible in a way that’s true to Jesus and the Apostles, and even their name gives this away (Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Presbyterians, etc.).

The term Christian is so widely used today; even other groups define themselves by other terms. It helps identify what’s important to them, and this enables us to state beliefs clearly when we share our beliefs with friends. Even non-denominational means something as a term. There is a criterion to call yourself that. So these are short-cut ways to define ourselves theologically. They’re helpful to start meaningful conversations about what each person who uses the term Christian believes. If the term Christian wasn’t misused to represent views that remove people from what Jesus endorsed and the God-ordained Apostles taught, then the term Christian would be enough. It was in biblical times but that’s because they were Apostolic in doctrine and Pentecostal in experience.

Page 1 of 812345Last »
Categories
Sign up for Email Updates
Stay in the know with the latest from Indiana Bible College. Sign up for our newsletter below.