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The church (not America) is meant to be seen by the world as the nation blessed by God. The nation of Israel is the Biblical example of this. God commanded Israel’s separation from the surrounding nations (and their gods) that they might be the example of an obedient people abundantly and unusually blessed by God. Furthermore, Israel was to be the counter-culture people who God used to bless the nations.

Israel’s prosperity and protection were dependent on fidelity to God, accompanied by deliberate and systematic rejection of all other gods. Regrettably, God’s people chose disobedience and became an example of those punished by a loving Father. Their persistent desire to be like the others was born out of the rebellious nature they inherited from Adam and Eve. Eventually, their rebellion led to captivity and destruction.

To recognize the warning, we must apply the natural example of Israel to the spiritual nature of the church. What exists in the spiritual realm of God’s kingdom ultimately manifests in the natural world. However, we must understand that the natural is symptomatic (i.e., result and evidence) of the spiritual reality of God’s supernatural kingdom. In other words, it is fruit on the tree, good or bad dependent on our fidelity to God (Matthew 12:33).

Regrettably, this explains why Western civilization has become so unimpressed by the church and why there is no fear of the God that seems to have abandoned her. This condition is not the world’s fault. Acts 2:42-43 comes to mind. Read the rest of this entry »

light-handsTherefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection… For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. Hebrews 6:1-6

The writer of Hebrews was guided by the Holy Spirit to write in a particular and orderly way. It is for a reason that the encouragement to move beyond the elementary principles is followed by this warning. He is saying nothing less than, “Move on! Otherwise, you are endangering your very salvation. Move on, or you risk falling away, and becoming impossibly lost.”

This begs the questions: Why aren’t these principles taught regularly from every church pulpit? Why aren’t they a part of every new member orientation? Do we – Pastors and Elders – understand and believe this warning?

Perhaps this is not an issue in your church fellowship and denomination. If so, you are an exception. I know for a fact that two of the largest denominations in the United States ignore at least two of the five elementary principles. That represents a forty percent increase in risk of eternal damnation for their members! And that’s assuming the other three principles are taught in their fullness (and they are not).

No one I have spoken to about this remembers being presented with “the elementary principles” as they are in the book of Hebrews. This is a travesty! It is hard to imagine why any Pastor or Elder that recognizes this would not immediately address the issue.

As you might imagine, the laying on of hands was one of the principles that was ignored in the denomination I grew up in. Strangely, that didn’t keep people from doing it. I know they meant well, but I still wonder if they knew God’s purpose in the practice; or, were they just mimicking what they had seen others do? Did they know that there were reasons not to lay hands on another; and not to allow another to lay hands on them?

This being an elementary principle, we can expect God to make the meaning easy for us to understand, believe and apply. So, let’s take a look at what He has to say about the laying on of hands. Read the rest of this entry »

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