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Posts by Tony Locke

The False Prophet and 666 Revealed — Revelation 13:11-18


A Dragon in Religious Clothing Revelation 13 1-18 ARP Church Anthony R Locke

Why is it 666?

I am going to give you an answer that is so simple, it stretches credulity. I hope you find it beautiful in it’s simplicity.

6 is less than 7. There are 7 churches, 7 stars, 7 lamp-stands, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 bowls, 7 horns. There’s the 7 days of Creation. Seven is the number of fullness, the number of completeness. We enter God’s rest on the seventh day.

To be short of seven is to be locked in the cycle of work. To be short of seven is to be incomplete. To be short of seven is to be Earthly and temporal. You are outside of God’s blessing as a six.

Humanity is a six. We are created in God’s image, but on the sixth day because we are less than God. The Dragon is a six. He is a fry short of a Happy Meal. He is a day late and a dollar short. He doesn’t measure up to God.

This Demonic Trinity will leave you empty and lost for all they have to offer is 6, 6, 6.

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No Beauty In This Beast — Revelation 13:1-10


No Beauty In This Beast Revelation 13 1-10 ARP Church Anthony R Locke

The Beast is all the nations in opposition to all that is good. All ten nations symbolize the totality of humanity involved in this rebellion, and the seven heads remind us that the Dragon is the Puppet Master.

Which is why this Beast, through the leadership of the anti-Christ and the power of the Kingdoms of the Earth, targets their anti-Christian rage against the followers of Jesus. This is a Demonic Beast who is Hell bent on the Church’s destruction.

Have you ever wondered why the world is so unified in their hostility to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? This vision answers that question.

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Do You Believe in Dragons? — Revelation 12:1-6


At a local mall is a dinner theater called Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. Their building is made to look like an old European castle.

When my sons saw the castle for the first time I nonchalantly told them that we needed to keep our distance because the dragon inside isn’t very nice.

The car went silent.

I looked into the rear view mirror and saw their wide eyes and concerned faces. They were terrified of that Dragon!

Do you believe in Dragons? God does. In Genesis 3 God introduces a Dragon who reappears in Revelation 12 and 20.

This Dragon is the real deal. We should be terrified.

Anyone feel the need to start humming A Mighty Fortress is Our God?

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Which Politician Stood Before 65 Mill Viewers and Labeled Our National Debt Immoral? — Revelation 11:15-19


When Lot was in front of the people of Sodom, he weakened the message of the Bible so that the people would leave him and his family alone.

Churches do the same thing today. We have lowered our rhetoric against sin.

During the last presidential debate, one of the candidates said that our national debt was immoral. Even good Churches don’t talk about morality.

Maybe this is why there isn’t much persecution of believers in America.

We have stopped saying what God told us to say for our own comfort sake.

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Why I Am Participating in Pulpit Freedom Sunday — Wayne Grudem


This Sunday I have agreed to join nearly 1,500 pastors nationwide and participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday, sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom. In my sermon, I plan to recommend that people vote for one presidential candidate and one political party that I will name. We will then all send our sermons to the IRS.

This action is in violation of the 1954 “Johnson Amendment” to the Internal Revenue Code, which prohibits tax-exempt organizations like churches from endorsing any candidate by name. But in our nation, a higher law than the IRS code is the Constitution, which forbids laws “abridging freedom of speech” or “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion (First Amendment).

If you participated, please tell us how your sermon was received in the comment section below.

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SAFE! — Psalm 91:1-16 by Reverend Chuck Wilson


by Reverend Charles Wilson

Psalm 91 1:1-16

In 1868, the blind poet and hymn-writer Fanny Crosby wrote these beautiful words:

Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast,

There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.

Many people are concerned about safety nowadays. We ask questions like:

  • What is a safe stock in which to invest?
  • Is my money in the bank safe?
  • Do I need to build a safe-room in my house to protect me and my family from intruders?

In Psalm 91 God makes promises regarding the safety of the saints. Consider these words from verse #7 . . .

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Why Does Christmas Come Early for Those Who Hate God's Prophets? — Revelation 11:1-14


The only legal document with measurements that most of us possess is the deed to our homes. Careful measurements were made to determine exact specifications. We identify that area as our possession. God has identified His people by careful measurement.

God’s people are Commissioned to speak the sweet and bitter words of the Unsealed Scroll of Destiny.

The World will not appreciate their words and will work hard to cleanse the culture of their Christian message. When a child of God is martyred, the world celebrates like it’s Christmas. But God has the final word and calls them to their eternal home in Heaven.

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California Makes It Illegal to Try and Convert Gays Under the Age of 18


Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he had signed SB 1172 which prohibits sexual orientation change efforts for anyone under 18.

Conservative religious groups and some Republicans have argued that banning conversion therapy would hinder parents’ right to provide psychological care for children experiencing gender confusion.

The Encino, Calif.-based National Association for Research and Therapy on Homosexuality said in August that the bill was a case of “legislative overreach,” and Lieu’s claims of harm to children were based on politics, not research.

The effect of the law, in brief, makes it illegal to try and convert any gay person under the age of 18 if your goal is to free them from the sin of homosexuality.

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Islam Requires Christians to Act Timid and Submissive, But God Expects Truth to Look Dominant! — Revelation 10:1-11


If you lived in a Muslim country, and lived your faith in the public square, you would be required to act pensive and timid when walking down the street.

You would be forced to submit, at least as reflected in your demeanor, to the superiority of Islam.

Would you do it?

Many Christians act that way in America.

Believers act weak when confronted by those arguing for evolution, abortion and same sex marriage.

This weak demeanor is the opposite of the dominant posture modeled by the angel in Revelation 10.

What happened to our confidence when holding God’s word? We should be inspired to charge the gates of Hell, not be cowering in fear.

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Can the ARP Church Regain Our Strength — Or Are We Too Old?


Can the ARP Church get stronger in our old age?

Hello, my name is Charles Eugster. When I turned 75 my friends began to pass away. People were getting older around me, but I was just getting ready to retire.

Then at 85 I had a crisis. I looked at myself in the mirror one day, and saw an old man. I was overweight, my posture was terrible and there was skin hanging off me where muscle used to be. I looked like a wreck. I started to consider the fact that I was probably going to die soon.

So in my late-80s I joined a bodybuilding club.

There’s no research into bodybuilding for the over-80s, so it’s been an experiment. With weight-lifting and protein shakes, my body began to change. It became broader, more v-shaped, and my shoulders and biceps became more defined.

I’m not chasing youthfulness. I’m chasing health. People have been brainwashed to think that after you’re 65, you’re finished. We’re told that old age is a continuous state of decline, and that we should stop working, slow down and prepare to die. I disagree. To me, a 65-year-old is young. I turn 92 this year. It is a frightening prospect – the law of averages is against me, and, yes, one day something will happen and that will be it. But until that day comes, I’m going to carry on working on my abs.

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The Chimes: Peachtree Corners Presbyterian — by Reverend Dr. John Cook


Over the recent years I have observed a culture shift in many Western churches.

Many church members today view the church like a cruise ship when it is actually a rowboat! That is, as long as my personal/family needs are met, and as long as programs are in place for when I want to attend, and as long as I feel satisfied when I leave the services which I choose to attend – then all is well.

But don’t ask me to come too often, or to help plan the programs, or to staff the needs or, to put it another way, to help row the boat!

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Join a Network that's Bigger and Better than Facebook — Revelation 7:9-17


Facebook has almost a billion monthly members, but there is a bigger and better community that you really should join!

God has a network. By faith we get connected in a community of saints.

If you will “Like” repentance and faith, then Jesus will share the same communion with the Father that He enjoys.

Our connection with Jesus will unite us with the Father, the Spirit, believers alive today, the Church of history and the glorified Church of tomorrow.

This community of believers is the only collection of people who are enabled to stand at the last day.

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The Surprise Identity of the Sealed 144,000 — Revelation 7:1-8


Jesus told us to forgive 7 times 70, but we don’t think of 490, rather the spiritual lesson it symbolizes.

The Sealed 144,000 also holds symbolic truth. Do you know who they are?

Want a hint?

This group of people are protected from the wrath of God, but not the wrath of Satan.

They are protected from God’s condemnation for sin, but not the natural disasters at the end of the world.

Their eternal destiny is secure, but they will suffer in this life for Jesus’ sake.

They are not limited numerically to 144,000, yet God identifies them by that number.

There are battalions in twelve formations ready to die for the cause. They are soldiers of the Cross. They are beautiful in perfection, symbolized in the number twelve, and full in their assembly as symbolized in the number ten. Before reading further, who do you think they are?

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Will the World End on December 21st? — Revelation 6:12-17


If a huge meteor shower hits the Earth (verse 13), then we can only assume that other planets in our solar system will be hit by the same meteor shower, including the Sun.

This is why the Sun turns black. Let me explain.

Have you ever seen a bowl of melted steel. If it is pure then the contents of the bowl glow red hot. But if you drop impure metal into that white hot liquid steel, then the dross, the debris from the impure metal separates. The impurity then floats to the surface and forms a black crust over the molten steel until the dross burns away.

Imagine God throwing billions of tons of dirt into the hot liquid plasma of the Sun via a meteor shower. The dirt will separate, float to the surface and form a crust of debris until it burns off. This is why the sun will turn dark black like sackcloth.

When this happens to the sun the inhabitants of the Earth will understand that the end is upon them. They will understand that God has intervened to judge sinners. They will all know that Jesus is coming. They will all be asking, “Will I be able to stand?”

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$1 Million Cash Bequest Impacts ARP Church


The late Robert Bowers, Jr. directed an astonishing cash distribution from his estate in August of 2012 totaling $1 million. The bequest further directs distributions to the ARP Foundation, World Witness, Christian Education, Outreach North America, Erskine Seminary and the Bonclarken Endowment.

These gift bequests are expected to have a profound impact on furthering virtually every aspect of the mission and message of the ARP Church – strategically strengthening the local church; new church plants and revitalization; and evangelism and discipleship at home and overseas.

“We are grateful for Mr. Bowers’ leadership and generosity that so concretely reflect the Lordship of Jesus Christ in his life, family and work. As a steward, his legacy will be eternal and measured by impact on the Kingdom of God by the changed lives of people,” Nichols said.

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The Cry of the Martyred — Revelation 6:9-11


When Jesus told the disciples about the coming destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem, they asked “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” Matthew 24:3.

Jesus answers the what, not the when.

Jesus answered, But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only Matthew 24:36.

There is a soft rebuke for their carnal calendar curiosity. If we know the when, then we might procrastinate our repentance.

Like Paul Harvey, God tells us the Rest of the Story, to encourage us when we suffer for His name sake.

Are you pouring your life out on the altar of total sacrifice for Jesus? Why not?

Do you not know what happens to the souls of the martyrs?

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Which Denomination Has the Best Chart for the Book of Revelation? — Revelation 6:9-11


When Jesus told the disciples about the coming destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem, they asked “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” Matthew 24:3.

Jesus answers the what, not the when.

Jesus answered, But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only Matthew 24:36.

There is a soft rebuke for their carnal calendar curiosity. If we know the when, then we might procrastinate our repentance.

Like Paul Harvey, God tells us the Rest of the Story, to encourage us when we suffer for His name sake.

Are you pouring your life out on the altar of total sacrifice for Jesus? Why not?

Do you not know what happens to the souls of the martyrs?

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The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse — Revelation 6:1-8


These four horseman fan the flame of man’s depravity to cause human suffering. I believe the suffering is cyclical and increasing as we approach the end. It started with Cain killing Abel and will end with Armageddon.

God has determined to keep humanity from being at peace on Earth while they are at war with Heaven. Worldwide suffering is a foretaste of God’s displeasure that we might be brought to repentance.

And here is the real surprise, when Jesus walked this Earth, He also bore the suffering of these four Horseman.

Jesus suffered under the hands of men in government who were Hell bent on conquering the freedom and liberty found in His message. The blood of Jesus was shed. Jesus lived a life of poverty and He died.

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Do Rocks and Fossils Take a Long Time to Form?


From grade school to college, we are taught that rocks and fossils take a very long time to form and that they are proof that the earth in hundreds of millions of years old. Part of the process of creating fossils is for the soil, dirt or sand surrounding the object to harden into rock.

According to evolutionists, it takes a very very long time, thousands to millions of years for the rocks and fossils to form, or does it?

How long does it take? Can they form quickly? Are there any examples of rocks and fossils forming quickly?

Let’s take a look and see:

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5 Things We Do Today Instead of Preach the Word — by James MacDonald


I wish I could tell you that most pastors are preaching the Word. I can’t—some are not. Here are five things we may choose to do instead of preach the Word.

1. ENTERTAIN:  “Music, drama, and video, felt needs, topics, more stories”

2. SHARE:  “There are some things I just want to share with you today . . .”

3. WOO:  “Careful, careful, don’t offend, always comfortable, never pressured, just a pinch of truth, when they’re ready to handle it.”

4. INTELLECTUALIZE:  “I’ve been thinking and researching this in the original languages . . .”

5. ABBREVIATE:  “Twenty-minute sermons”

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The Key to Worship — Revelation 5:8-14


The ARP has a slogan that “All of Life is Worship.” How is worship being defined to fit that slogan?

David Peterson defines worship in his wonderful book, Engaging with God, quote “Worship of the living and true God is essentially an engagement with him on the terms that he proposes and in the way that he alone makes possible. I like this definition because it isn’t generic. It applies to Christian Worship specifically.

Revelation chapter 5 gives us a peek into Heavenly worship.

This chapter reveals the Key to Worship .

Worship happens when we rightly profess the identity of Jesus and then rightly respond to that profession.

Said even more succinctly: when we say, “Jesus is Lord!”, and we act accordingly, we are worshiping.

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The Wind of the Holy Ghost Blowing upon the Dry Bones in the Valley of Vision — by Ebenezer Erskine


by Rev. Ebenezer Erskine

Preached March 15, 1715

Sermon Text: Ezekiel 37:9 Come from the four winds, O breath; and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

The Doctrine of the Sermon: That as the generality of a church and people in covenant with God, may be in a very dead and languishing condition as to their souls; so the breathings and influences of the Holy Spirit of God are absolutely necessary for their revival.

This sermon is reprinted with the hope that God would invigorate the ARP Church with a new Spirit of revival.

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The Search for a Legitimate Heir — Revelation 5:1-7


Imagine ripping the most important page out of your favorite novel. On that page is the pivotal event in the story when the plot culminates into one shocking moment of colorful drama.

If you haven’t read the book, if you don’t know the plot, then that page is without context and without drama. For those who know the larger narrative, that page is the game changer.

Revelation 5 is the game changer. It is the climax of the story that God started in Genesis. Jesus walks from the congregation of the people of God into the center of the Heavenly Throne to take from the Father all authority and all power over the Creation. Jesus receives His inheritance.

It is a peaceful transfer of power from the Father to the Son.

From this moment on, the reader can be assured, that all the rest of eternity will be centered around this One Divine person: Jesus the Son of God.

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The Collapse of the Liberal Church — by Margaret Wente


Something began changing in the 1960s. Liberal churches decided that traditional notions of worship were out of date, even embarrassing. They preferred to emphasize intellect, rationality and understanding.

As the United Church found common cause with auto workers, it became widely known as the NDP at prayer. Social justice was its gospel. Spiritual fulfilment would be achieved through boycotts and recycling. Instead of Youth for Christ, it has a group called Youth for Eco-Justice.

Mardi Tindal, the current moderator, recently undertook a spiritual outreach tour across Canada to urge “the healing of soul, community and creation” by reducing our carbon footprint. Which raises the obvious question: If you really, really care about the environment, why not just join Greenpeace?

According to opinion polls, people’s overall belief in God hasn’t declined. What’s declined is people’s participation in religion. With so little spiritual nourishment to offer, it’s no wonder the liberal churches have collapsed.

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Shocking Throne Room Secrets!

Lions, Bulls, Humans & Eagles . . . Oh My! The most ferocious, strongest, smartest and fastest creatures in the Creation occupy the immediate space around God’s throne.

The whole Creation bows down and gives God glory. All creatures cast back to God any glory ascribed to them.

My dad named his company “Crown” to signal he was offering his greatest career achievement in praise to God. How do you communicate that you’re living for Jesus?

Are you ready to be led by these four angels to do God’s will for the rest of eternity? God reveals shocking details about Heaven in this chapter.

The greatest shock will be for those who think Heaven is all about the saved.

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What’s at the Center of the Universe?


I watched a television series about the universe this last week narrated by Morgan Freeman. Did you know that at the center of every Galaxy, so science believes, is a Black Hole. As far as they can figure a black hole is billions, maybe trillions of stars, all collapsed into a mass the size of a baseball stadium. Maybe as small as the baseball. And the gravity is so intense that even light can’t escape it’s grasp. The same model holds true in miniature for an atom.

So if a black hole is at the center of every galaxy, then what’s at the center of the universe?

John tells us. and behold, a throne stood in Heaven, with one seated on the throne.

There is a throne at the center of the universe. This is the theme of chapter four as the word throne appears 13 times. The throne may not be visible by our modern telescopes, but it is the centerpiece of all that exists.

And the Bible tells us that this throne stands. It is active and empowered. No disinterested Deity sits on that singular throne. God didn’t complete the Creation and become bored. God didn’t wind it up and wait for the timer to ding.

At the center of the universe the Creator reigns supreme.

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What Makes Jesus Physically Upset? — the Letter to Laodicea


Just a short walk up the road was the famous natural spring waters of Colossae. Like the bubbly French spring water called Perrier, no water was cleaner, colder or more refreshing.

Also nearby was the famous hot spring waters of Hierapolis. Like an expensive spa, the water was enriched with natural minerals. It’s hot springs were medicinal and rejuvenating.

The city of Laodicea didn’t have their own water supply. They built aqueducts to bring the water in. By the time water arrived from Colossae it had turned salty and lukewarm. It wasn’t good for refreshing the animals. Residents who were native to the city were repelled by it’s taste.

Jesus says that this church leaves Him feeling the same way.

Why would Jesus say this about a church and might we be on His list of people that make Him sick?

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Why I’ve Stopped Singing in Your Church — by Bill Blankschaen


I love music. Truly I do. I love to sing. But you wouldn’t know it on Sunday morning when I’m visiting your church.

I’m not talking to all of you, of course. I’m sure many churches, maybe even yours, get it right. I just haven’t been there that often, I guess.

Frankly, I’m tired of it. Maybe all the “seekers” are enjoying it, but I’m finding it hard to sincerely engage in anything resembling worship.

Instead of feeling the joy of joining with other believers in offering praises to the Almighty, I often feel insulted, bored, and disconnected from 2,000 years of worship history. And just when I think that maybe it’s just me having a selfish and sinful attitude — a very real possibility — a flamboyant electrical guitar solo breaks out. I’m left deciding whether to waive my iPhone and buy the t-shirt or just shut up and go home.

As best I can sort through my own muddled and messy thoughts, I think there are three things that really bother me about the worship music in many Evangelical Christian churches today . . .

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An Obituary for the American Church — by Mike Breen


There is a difference between being famous and being significant. If Jesus was famous, it’s because he was doing something significant. The problem with many pastors is they make decisions, develop personas and define success from the lens of what will make them a celebrity/famous (even if they don’t know it or see that they are doing this). So in American church culture, it’s pretty easy to become a celebrity: Grow a HUGE church. Now all in all, it’s not terribly difficult to grow to be a giant church if you have the right tools at your disposal…but that doesn’t mean the ends justify the means of getting there.

For instance, though Jesus was a celebrity in his day, he was willing to say things that ran people off in droves. In fact, the book of Mark chronicles the way (from about the mid-point of the book on) how people left Jesus to where, at the end, virtually no one was left. No one wants to be associated with him for fear of the consequences. That’s not something you see too often in American churches.

I suspect it’s because riven deeply into the American psyche is the desire to be a celebrity. And American pastors are very susceptible to this. Many subtle things happen in people who desire to this kind of celebrity status . . .

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The Open Door Policy for Aliens & Strangers — the Letter to Philadelphia


Have you ever felt like you weren’t wanted? Like a fifth wheel? Has a religious crowd ever made you feel like a stranger? Like everyone else was extended brotherly love, but you?

Jesus promises never to let His people feel like outsiders.

Jesus will not withhold His friendliness, favor, brotherly love or praise for His faithful.

Jesus opens the door wide into Heaven for His people. In the New Jerusalem the faithful will never feel like a fifth wheel. With Jesus we will never feel like a stranger.

We might feel like an alien in this world, but when we approach Heaven, we will find an open door. We will be greeted by Jesus and the saints!

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The Open Door Policy for Aliens & Strangers — the Letter to Philadelphia


Have you ever felt like you weren’t wanted? Like a fifth wheel? Has a religious crowd ever made you feel like a stranger? Like everyone else was extended brotherly love, but you?

Jesus promises never to let His people feel like outsiders.

Jesus will not withhold His friendliness, favor, brotherly love or praise for His faithful.

Jesus opens the door wide into Heaven for His people. In the New Jerusalem the faithful will never feel like a fifth wheel. With Jesus we will never feel like a stranger.

We might feel like an alien in this world, but when we approach Heaven, we will find an open door. We will be greeted by Jesus and the saints!

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The Powerful Legacy of William Tyndale


A hundred years ago a comet made of frozen gas entered our atmosphere and made impact in Russia, in a swampy forest in western Siberia. When an ice comet travels through Earth’s atmosphere, the friction melts and atomizes the frozen gas into a trail of flammable vapor that spreads from the Earth’s crust all the way back to the highest parts of our stratosphere. When the explosion happens on the surface of the earth, the fire ball has the potential to reach thousands of miles high with the explosive power of a thousand atomic bombs.

The shock wave from that explosion flattened 80 million trees over 800 square miles. The center of the impact left all the trees standing straight up with no branches.

The fireball stretched back into the outer atmosphere, as high as there is burnable oxygen to ignite the trial of gas left in the wake of the comet’s path. This produced so much light that a day later Londoners could read their newspapers under the night sky.

The comet struck at 7:17 am on June 30, 1908. Just over a hundred years ago.

But the energy from that event pales in significance to another explosion that happened 500 years ago in London, an explosion of light that set the world ablaze, and still shines today. That light is the glory of the Son of God shining forth from the pages of Holy Writ. That light wasn’t shining very well for a thousand years before Tyndale.

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Five Confessions of a Failed Church Planter — by John Thomas


There are five major–and painful–confessions that I am ready to own up to: Prayerlessness, Lack of Personal Focus, Lack of Gospel Centeredness, Lack of Honest Critique, Lack of Partnership.

Looking back, any one of these errors was enough to sink the ship. There are dozens of other failures that I could note. These seem to be the most egregious; the ones that had they been dealt with at the time would likely have made the difference between failure and viability.

It’s my hope and prayer that these confessions will help those who are in the throes of leading a plant or those who will lead a plant in the future, not to make the same mistakes I made along the way. It is also my hope that the Lord will continue to raise up an army of men who will, in spite of the odds, take up the banner of church planting for the glory of God!

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"Wolf" — as used in the Bible by Jesus and Paul — Charles W. Wilson


Jesus writes in Revelation 2:1-7 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. . . . This thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Paul also warned the same Ephesian elders to beware of, to be discerning of, and to protect the church from the false teachers he described as “wolves.” This they did to the point that Jesus commended them for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which He also hated.

“Hate” is a powerful word. Many of us today recoil from and are offended by it. Some even say “hate” is a sub-Christian response.  Nevertheless, it is the word Jesus used and a response He approved of and commended in the Ephesian elders as they contended for the purity of the Christian community in Ephesus. Why? What is it about “false teachers” that brings out of Jesus and Paul the appellation of “wolf” and the visceral emotion of “hate”?

In the hands of Jesus and Paul, “wolf” is a literary device for identifying false teachers and the destructive heresies which are their trade. As the wolf in the forest stalks and kills and devours her prey, false teachers as they come stalking with their God-perverting and idolatrous doctrines kill and devour the souls and lives of men and women.

What is the nature of these “false teachers” the Ephesian elders hated – a hatred Jesus commended?

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The Church of the Living Dead — Sardis


Gospel passions build great organizations, but carelessness let’s them slide into Christian obscurity and Kingdom irrelevance.

Consider the Kingdom Mission of Harvard, Dartmouth, Princeton and Yale. Gospel passion made them grow, but carelessness left them useless for the Kingdom of Christ. The current fight within the ARP over Erskine is a work of sweat and prayer to keep our Denominational College and Seminary off the list of the spiritually irrelevant.

The Church at Sardis was fast becoming irrelevant to Christ’s Kingdom.
Evangelistic zeal had dried up. Fervent prayer was marginalized. A commitment to discipleship was replaced with commitments to programs and fruitless busy-ness.

None of these things were concerns for the Church at Sardis. They had become content with previous spiritual victories. They made their boast in their glorious history, not the Lord, and they lost Christ’s vision for their community.

They looked alive, but Jesus said they were dead. They had a reputation for being alive, but they were spiritually dead. They were the church of the living dead.

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The Deep Things of Satan . . . in the Church of Thyatira


Christians in Thyatira felt pressure from the trade guilds. We would call them Unions.

Imagine yourself living in Chicago as an electrician. If you are willing to join a Union and vote for the local politicians then you’re fine.

But let’s say you’re a Tea Party radical and a conservative political activist. Could you get employment as an electrician in Chicago?

The Unions in Thyatira were teaching immoral and corrupting values. Each guild worshipped a deity who promised financial success and good health.

Worship was like a Mardi Gras Party. The guilds sponsored immoral festivals like what you might see in Rio de Janeiro. Union members were expected to participate or possibly lose their benefits.

Christians faced a huge dilemma. They could attend these festivals and eat the meat offered to the idols, or boycott the festivals and damage their careers. Some Christians did speak out and call the society to repentance. Others, within the church, argued that participation was fine. Jesus calls these church people Jezebels.

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Can We Negotiate a Ceasefire with Satan? — Revelation 2:12-17


Abraham Kuyper said that, “There is not a square inch in heaven or on earth or under the earth in which there is peace between Christ and Satan.”

Jesus said that Satan lived in Pergamum. Does Satan dwell in your town?

You can tell be answering this question — “Do your neighbors publicly express their animosity toward God without shame?”

Is homosexuality celebrated? Are cults and witchcraft treated as acceptable religious options? Does the culture treat abortion as a morally neutral decision? Is living together without the benefit of marriage considered moral? Is pornographic material readily available?

How much animosity against God can citizens flaunt without being shunned? Can people be publically sinful and not become social outcasts?

Answering these questions will measure the level at which Satan is allowed to feel at home within your own community.

Do you help Satan feel comfortable by going along to get along? Have you lost your saltiness? Have you negotiated a ceasefire with Satan to protect your own skin? Jesus calls this the error of Balaam.

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Manuscript of the Incoming Moderator’s Address — What’s Eating at the Fabric of the ARP Church?


by Steve Suits

Fathers and brothers, last year Moderator Andy Putnam laid before us a statistical picture of the health of our denomination.  His presentation made it quite clear that the trajectory of the ARPC in terms of numbers is not positive.  Now, the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) identifies in its report to us this year what is eating at the fabric of the ARPC, echoing to a large degree what was said by the Vision Committee over five years ago.

Not only are we experiencing declining membership, diminishing giving, and dying congregations, but, according to what these two committees have reported, apathy and mediocrity characterize much of the attitude of our work, at least in the sphere of denominational affairs. Coming out of this is what the SPC called, “blame-shifting and conflict for control.”

Such negative attributes are probably not as apparent to those among us who do not spend much time in denominational activities, but rather are working hard to serve their local congregations.  Nevertheless, this is what has been said by the members of these two committees, who have thought long and hard about our condition.  What underlying problems are responsible for this state of affairs?

Why a Synod in the first place?

When I looked to our Confession of Faith for guidance, I found that a Synod is for the better government and further edification of the Church.  How does a synod provide for better government and further edification of the Church?

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"WOLVES" General Synod Communion 2012 — Andrew Putnam


by Reverend Andrew Putnam
Acts 20:28-32
English Standard Version

There are WOLVES in this very room that pollute the gospel for their own purposes, that will allow the devil to use them for his purposes and will subvert the Gospel for their own power and interests.

How do we deal with the wolves knocking on the ARP’s door? Putnam offered three solutions:

1. Preach the Gospel – hold fast to the Gospel message – love one another.

2. “Shoot them” – don’t let them run free (Joel 3:10); starve them; ignore them; give them nothing.

3. Pray – for the wolves among God’s sheep; for peace and prosperity.
“If we don’t do this, we will be standing in the ruins of the ARP Church saying, ‘Oh, what used to be…’”

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Synod 2012 — Items of Interest for ARP Churches



Can your church organize a fundraising team to raise $1,000 between now and next year? Contact me to inquire how to help.

Click to read the Synod Packet located at Google Docs.


June 07, 2012 at 7:24 pm – Due to a lack of delegates (lacking 6 elders and 15 ministers), Synod was suspended and all business was shelved.

June 07, 2012 at 4:48 pm – Synod affirms that Marriage is only defined as between a Man and a Woman.

June 07, 2012 at 4:27 pm – Synod funding for Erskine will continue, with love and patience, as the College Board of Trustees works through the new information that was brought to light within the Minority Report.

June 07, 2012 at 2:47 pm – That a season of prayer and fasting for Erskine College and Seminary be held in the churches of the presbyteries in the ARP Synod.

June 07, 2012 at 12:10 pm – Pacific (Korean) Presbytery was not dissolved, but their inclusion within the ARP was referred back to the Executive Board

June 07, 2012 at 11:03 am – Voted to Affirm the Historicity of Adam & Eve

June 07, 2012 at 9:45 am – New Moderator Elect for 2013-2014

June 06, 2012 at 10:45 am – Moderator’s Address by Dr. Steve Suits entitled “What’s Eating at the Fabric of the ARP Church? — by Dr. Steve Suits”

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What's Eating at the Fabric of the ARP Church? — by Dr. Steve Suits


by arpmagazine

In his Moderator’s Challenge to Synod delegates, guests, and members of the press this morning, incoming Moderator, Dr. Steve Suits, began by painting a bleak picture of a denomination with declining membership and giving – with stagnant or dying congregations.

The picture did not improve as he mentioned reports by the Strategic Planning Committee and 2007 Vision Committee. Both reports alluded to apathy and mediocrity characterizing much of the attitude of the work of the Church in the “sphere of denominational affairs.” This, in turn, has led to “blame-shifting and conflict for control.”

Later, Moderator Suits appealed to members of Synod to consider that in all this, God may be working in the ARP Church. “Often, when the church seems buried and things seem most discouraging, God is working profoundly beneath the surface.”

“Fathers and brothers, what is God doing to further his grace among us so that He can work his grace through us? Let us not look at the externals – the statistics, the reports, the so-called struggles for control and blame-shifting. Rather, let us call upon our Sovereign God under whose lordship we stand and serve.

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Separation of Church and School — by World Magazine


by Mickey McLean at World Magazine

The struggle over the governance of Erskine College and Seminary continues

The ongoing battle between the board of trustees of Erskine College and Erskine Seminary and their founding denomination, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, over the governance of the schools remains unresolved following the ARPC’s annual denominational meeting that ended Thursday.

ARPC pastors and ruling elders, who make up the delegates to the denomination’s highest court, the General Synod, voted to appoint committees to continue to study the issue and report back at next year’s annual meeting.

In making the motion to continue to study the situation, former ARPC Synod moderator Steve Maye said, according to a reporter for The Aquila Report

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The Gospel Gone Viral . . .



Posted by 

Someone I follow on Twitter recently shared this video of a man’s marriage proposal to his girlfriend.  For obvious reasons the video quickly went viral.  With more than a million downloads in just a few days, the video even landed the couple an interview on the Today Show.

Church planting movements are what happens when the gospel goes viral.  As men and women come to know Christ the gospel spreads through networks and communities and nations.  Obviously, this is a work of the Holy Spirit, but we can help facilitate the spread of the gospel by teaching and discipling others in a way that communicates the importance of sharing the gospel with others.  As we disciple others, we are investing in the lives of others to teach them to be obedient to God and to share Christ with others.  When Jesus called his disciples he told them, “Follow me [obedience] and I will make you fishers of men [evangelism].”

As I’ve been preparing for missions work in Wales, I’ve been learning to be more intentional in my own teaching.  I’ve come across a method of reading and studying the Bible that naturally cultivates the spread of the gospel.  I call it the SOS method of Scripture reading.  SOS stands for Say, Obey, Share. After reading a passage of Scripture I ask myself three questions.

  1. Say: What does this passage say?
  2. Obey:  What does this passage require me to do or believe?
  3. Share: Who needs to hear this?

I then spend a short amount of time in prayer for that person and resolve to share the message with that person at the next available opportunity.  I can’t say that I’m always faithful to share as I should, but I have found that its made me more intentional in my relationships.  As we all become more faithful to share the gospel with others, my prayer and vision is to see the gospel go viral in such a way that our culture and world is transformed for the glory of God!

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In Defense of Marriage — Focus on the Family


Dear Friend,

I have some bad news to report. Just yesterday, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston declared that part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The federal definition of marriage as being the union of one man and one woman has applied to all federal laws, regulations and benefits since 1996. This lawsuit involves claims from same-sex couples demanding federal benefits that are reserved for heterosexual couples.

Essentially, the appellate court said the federal government—and by extension, the taxpayers in all 50 states—must subsidize whatever types of arrangements a state may choose to call “marriage.”

Think about that for minute. In the 1800s, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of Congress to forbid polygamy in any territory wishing to apply for statehood. But the federal appeals court in Boston today ignored that history and declared Congress has no interest in keeping the definition of marriage the same as it has been for thousands of years.
 

Also visit the Heritage Foundation’s BLOG Roll on the Defense of Marriage.

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Christ Community Church — Prayer Letter June


Thank you so much for your ongoing prayers for Christ Community Church.  Your prayers continue to bless us.

Greetings from Christ Community!

I want to thank you for your continuing prayers for our Mission.

First, thank you for your prayers about our Easter services. Our sunrise service was larger again this year and our regular service was well attended too, giving us the opportunity to share the gospel with about 300 people in our area. A few who attended the sunrise service have visited the church as well and we hope to continue to share God’s love with them in the future.

Our men’s study is still meeting faithfully on Monday

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Suffering, the Smyrna Church and their AD 155 Pamphlet on the Martyrdom of Polycarp


There are a quarter of a billion Christians living under intense persecution right now. 200,000 are martyred every year for their Christian witness.

Their death is heartbreaking, but from God’s perspective, it’s like graduating summa cum laude, meaning “with highest honor.”

Jesus dictated a letter through John to the Church to remind them to get ready for the trouble.

What might cause trouble for Christians in America?

Might we face persecution for not embracing Darwinism as an Educator? That already happens.

Might we be accused of committing a hate crime if we call homosexuals sinners? That already happens.

Might we be fired and told we were not “team players” for confronting lies in corporate marketing materials? That also already happens.

So what does Jesus say about our suffering? It’s like we are making deposits into our 401k account. One day Jesus will make sure we cash in.

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Every Mother Can Be a co-Redemptrix


I like to think of my mom as a co-Redemptrix.

That’s not a word we Protestants use. If you grew up Roman Catholic then there’s a good chance you studied the co-Redemptrix work of Mary.

Mary is described as a co-Redeemer because she submitted to the will of God that the Redeemer should be born through her body by the power of the Holy Spirit. She prayed, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38).

Mary was a co-Redemptrix in that she agreed to work with God in her life and in the life of those around her.

Every mother can be a co-Redemptrix is she works with Christ to bring her family to faith. By your prayers, using the word of God as part of your parenting and instruction, by your godly living, in love and holiness you can bring our lives under the constraints and freedom of God’s law.

This is the primary arena of accountability that God reserves for Mothers.

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"Oh, How I Loved Jesus" — Are We Much Different Than the Church of Ephesus?


Yesterday my wife told me she was in love with me, and my response was, “I love you too.” A few minutes later she asked me about my response. She pointed out that she loves her brothers, but she isn’t in love with her brothers.

She wanted to know if I was still in love with her. Jesus begins his conversation with the Church on this personal level.

It’s a love conversation. Awkward. Peter denied three times on the night of Jesus’ crucifixion that he even knew Jesus. So after the resurrection, Jesus asked if Peter loved Him. Peter said he was only fond of Jesus. So Jesus asked again.

Now Jesus is having the same conversation with us.
I remember when a girl told me she loved me, yet I didn’t respond with the same level of commitment and enthusiasm. Eight hours later we ended a two year dating relationship.

That’s the way Jesus starts His conversation with His Bride. Jesus says, “You’re not in love with your husband anymore.”

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"Oh, How I Loved Jesus" — Are We Much Different Than the Church of Ephesus?


Yesterday my wife told me she was in love with me, and my response was, “I love you too.” A few minutes later she asked me about my response. She pointed out that she loves her brothers, but she isn’t in love with her brothers.

She wanted to know if I was still in love with her. Jesus begins his conversation with the Church on this personal level.

It’s a love conversation. Awkward. Peter denied three times on the night of Jesus’ crucifixion that he even knew Jesus. So after the resurrection, Jesus asked if Peter loved Him. Peter said he was only fond of Jesus. So Jesus asked again.

Now Jesus is having the same conversation with us.
I remember when a girl told me she loved me, yet I didn’t respond with the same level of commitment and enthusiasm. Eight hours later we ended a two year dating relationship.

That’s the way Jesus starts His conversation with His Bride. Jesus says, “You’re not in love with your husband anymore.”

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Why Does the Apostle's Creed Think Pontius Pilate is Central to our Faith? — Luke 1:1-4


When the early church pieced together the Apostle’s Creed, they were using the baptismal formulas previously in use by the actual Apostles. We don’t know which Apostle coined each phrase of the Apostle’s Creed, but one of the twelve was baptizing converts in the name of Jesus Christ who suffered under Pontius Pilate.

Which begs the question, “why are we confessing anything about a secular Roman governor?” This morning I am going to explain why Pilate’s name is in the creed, and I am going to suggest that it is necessary for a sound faith.

During this time period in Rome there were mystical religions that taught a variety of strange ideas. These false religions didn’t claim their teachings were real in a historic or scientific sense, but their teachings were spiritually real.

Lots of Christians understand their own faith within this context. My sermon will try to convince you otherwise.

Let me illustrate this with a true experience of mine. I visited a seminary in the late 1990’s where I considered enrolling. Before I enrolled I wanted to discern what kind of an education I would receive so I asked a professor this question. “Do you think the virgin birth really happened historically or is it just spiritually real?” The teacher knew what I was asking. I wasn’t being a smart-aleck. I was trying to size up the orthodoxy of the school.

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