Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Re: Top Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer Pentecostal

Dear Jerry,

In response to your comment about my article, Top Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer Pentecostal, just let me say that having some ecstatic experience outside of your control does not prove anything, since you yourself acknowledge below that you are no longer a "believer."  So what is the point of claiming your "experience" was genuine when it has only driven you from Christ?  Since nothing you have written below is of a personal nature, I am posting my response on the blog.  Your diatribe against God and His Word deserves a response.  Frankly, I am not in the least interested in hearing your "testimony" or "story" about your excuse for your current state of rebellion against God.  The bottom line is there is no excuse.

Although I understand your frustration with man-made religion, I do not understand how you can translate this into your rebellion against God Himself.  God is not a "religion".  He just IS (Exodus 3:14-15).  Religion is usually man's attempt to reach up to God through man's own sinful thoughts and ways.  But true faith comes from God above and the true "religion" is revealed only in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Scriptures.  All other attempts to reach up to God are just the ways of rebels who think they get to tell God what to do (Isaiah 55:9-11). 

 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV)
You seem to think that you have more authority than the Bible since you, like all rebels, place more faith in yourself and your own experiences than in Jesus Christ or the Holy Scriptures. (Psalm 82:6-8).  The Scriptures are THE standard by which we can know and understand God and His plan for the elect.  If you reject Jesus Christ and the Scriptures, what more can I say to you?

 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)

 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17 ESV)

Moreover, Pentecostals in general have no clue as to what the Bible teaches about God's Law, which can only condemn us all as sinners,  or the Gospel, which is God's promises to save the ungodly elect who deserve hell as much as everyone else does  (Romans 4:4-5; Romans 5:6-10).  Salvation is ALL of God's grace and nothing we "do" can save us (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7).  Salvation is completely and totally a free gift.  Even believing in Jesus is not something we do but is a gift given to us.  Those who do not believe have not been regenerated and given that gift.

That is not to say that you are fenced out of the Gospel.  It just means that until you believe you cannot have any assurance that you have been born again and chosen by God to salvation.

If you think that I'm going to feel badly because you are an apostate from the Christian faith, you are mistaken.  You see simply because you were hurt by the false religion of Pentecostalism is no excuse before God.  All have sinned and fallen short of God's perfect mark (Romans 3:23).  Even those who have never heard the Gospel at all are without excuse.  Romans 1:18-21 says:

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:18-21 ESV)
If you harden your heart then it is simply God's judgment against you.  If, however, God has mercy on you then He will open your eyes to the fact that the Law of God reveals you are a sinner in rebellion against God and you are His enemy and God is your enemy (John 3:36).  Only when you realize that God owes you nothing but hell, then and only then can you receive the unconditional promises given to believers through the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20; Matthew 11:25-30).  As long as you continue to make demands of God you remain His enemy and an alien from the citizenship of heaven (Philippians 3:20).

I do pray that God will have mercy on you and give you the grace to believe and to receive the reconciliation purchased for God's elect through the blood of Jesus Christ shed for sinners on the cross.  Once you experience God's unconditional love for His elect, even while they are yet ungodly and in bondage to sin, you will be irresistibly drawn to saving faith (John 6:37-39, 44, 65-66).  However, if you continue to refuse to acknowledge God's just condemnation of you as a sinner and if you refuse the plan of salvation for God's elect in Christ, then the only result of that is your own self condemnation and God's just condemnation of you as a rebel against God (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23).  The only thing God "owes" you is hell.

It might surprise you to know that having theological degrees does not translate into having a large church or a large income.  I am quite humbly employed, though I do know the Scriptures since I have been reading the Bible since I was eight-years old.   In fact, I cut my teeth on the King James Version.  No one else in my immediate family is a Christian.  I am the only one.  My father died when I was twelve-years-old and left my mother a widow with seven children, of whom I am the eldest.  If anyone should hate God and rebel, it is I.   In fact, I did rebel for many years until I joined a Pentecostal church in my home town.  When I discovered that the Pentecostals were charlatans and false prophets I could have returned to my rebellion.  Instead I kept my faith in Christ and looked for a church that rightly preached both the Law and the Gospel.  There are few if any Evangelical churches that truly "get it".  But that has not stopped me from believing the Holy Scriptures, which are in and of themselves sufficient for salvation.  A true church is one where the Gospel is rightly preached and the two sacraments (baptism and the Lord's supper) are rightly and duly administered.

I do pray that God will soften your heart and open your eyes to the truth (Acts 16:14; Ephesians 1:18).  If not, then the burden of your debt to God remains with you.  I have no power to convert a soul or to save anyone.  Only God can do that.

May God have mercy on your soul,

Charlie J. Ray

 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1-7 ESV)

 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, (Ephesians 1:18 ESV)
XVII. Of Predestination and Election.
PREDESTINATION to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, He hath constantly decreed by His counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation as vessels made to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God's purpose by His Spirit working in due season; they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made sons of God by adoption; they be made like the image of His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works; and at length by God's mercy they attain to everlasting felicity.
    As the godly consideration of Predestination and our Election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons and such as feeling in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: so for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation or into wretchlessness of most unclean living no less perilous than desperation.
    Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in Holy Scripture; and in our doings that will of God is to be followed which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.

Reasonable Christian Blog Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost; Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen. 1662 Book of Common Prayer

On 10/13/2010 6:58 AM, Jerry Newingham wrote:

I'd love to lay out for you what The Pentecostal Experience did for me, it was devastating to say the least. I've wished I had never had the experience..That experience started me on a long spiral downward.

 Despite all your educational accomplishments and degrees, and your claim to be a former "Charismatic/Pentecostal" yourself, it's very clear to me what you and others posting on your blog have described as their "Pentecostal experience" doesn't in any shape or form, in ANY measure or fashion, even remotely resemble what the experience was for me.

Quite frankly, skimming  through the comments on the subject, I seriously doubt those making the claim of having it, ever really did.

No offense meant, but that includes yourself. And I AM being objective and unbiased. I only have my own experience to measure against, and those experiences posted and mine don't line up at all.

I'm not the least bit religious today. There's just too much nonsense in the Bible taken literally, and it's insane. Too much of it doesn't add up. It isn't rational.

 But that's a different subject.

I wish I could tell you my story, it's nothing like you would expect, but I noticed a neat little stipulation you've made regarding emails, "All e-mails to me are considered in the public domain. I reserve the right to post them on the blog with appropriate theological responses. Anonymous comments may or may not be posted at the discretion of the blog "

Now for me that's just sad..Because for years I've been trying to find an intelligent, unbiased person i could talk to, but it's just about impossible. Not when it comes to Religion. Religious people can't be honest from the get go, because they are functioning from the restricted parameters of their beliefs. Atheists, while far more rational and clear thinking, come up short in being absolutely positive God doesn't exist. Agnostics are just plain wishy-washy. I on the other hand KNOW there's a God, but I think he's insane on a level beyond imagining, comprehension.

 I surely don't want what I share plastered on the internet for anyone and everyone to see. I'm looking for answers, nothing else.

I paused a moment to look back over your list of academic accomplishments. Now that I look further at your qualifications, I realize you're not that person. You're not someone I could talk to. Your beliefs are shaped and locked in to place. You've fenced yourself in with them, and can only filter anything I say to you through them.

I was going to delete this, but I'll go ahead and send it just so you know there's more to the subject of Pentecost, or "Charisma" (Sometimes I want to laugh out loud), with ramifications you haven't considered..

I'll add one more thing, when I had the experience, I didn't work myself into any semi-hypnotic state or suggestive state, or emotional state making me receptive for it to happen. If you want to know the truth, I was damned pissed off at the time. Pissed off, didn't want to be there, and the furthest thing from my mind was falling to the floor on my knees speaking in tongues.

But you ain't the guy for me to open up to, so don't bother responding. I'll keep looking or give it up. I hate dealing with religious people anyway.

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