Praise God for what I witnessed today!
Hello, I'm an American stationed in Germany with the military and I have an insatiable desire for the truth of God, given to me by the Lord to glorify His name...I near came to tears of joy when I found your website dedicated to the Holiness and Sovereignty of our God. I teach the adult Sunday school in a small German town. There are about 20 or 30 folks that attend irregularly. Only four that I know of believe that God had everything to do with their Salvation, that God did not "chance" the future of His Kingdom on the decisions of a fallen and wicked man. It is such a hard concept to grasp...and only God can do that for them, but that does not absolve my responsibility to teach it. I am often ostracized and given dirty, abhorring, and repulsive looks when I mention anything about God calling his chosen, and that when God calls, only the sheep he has predestined will hear his voice. They do not understand the humility with which that statement is given and not in arrogance. For if I had nothing to do with my God calling me, and regenerating me, and giving me a new heart, then why me? Why Jacob and not Esau? Oh, to God I give thanks!!
Please pray that this congregation that I have a burden for will be saved completely, and that their works will withstand the fire, so that not only the man will be saved...I thank God for your dedication to His word that it may help me in my lessons, that others may come to know the truth of the Holiness and Power with which God reigns.
I was going to wait to write until tomorrow morning, but I couldn't...God wouldn't let me. I am so thankful to have a resource that can perhaps share in the burden of the truth. While I understand that God's Word stands alone, and that He needs me not, it is unimaginable for me not to thirst for fellowship of like-minded Christians who understand the Lord as we do. It is my prayer that God opens their ears so that the parables make sense and that to them will be given the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.
Please accept my humble thanks to you. I was so discouraged today after Sunday school -- we are studying Jonah through the Lifeway series (garbage voted on by the council). I only use the scriptural curriculum and not their lesson plan, so I jumped back to Kings and Samuel as a side-study of where God with-holds the authority over the rise and fall of nations -- important to truly grasp why God would command Jonah to go to Nineveh. That God would use Jonah's disobedience to save the pagan sailors is not lost on the class, but the fact that God had ordained it to happen exactly as He willed is reprehensible to them..."Jonah had a choice and God had to fix it." "God loves us so much that He gave us the choice" is all so close to heresy that it makes me feel sick inside...our culture and the egalitarian society we have in "fairness" is awash in today's typical Christian church. Easy believism.
Thanks for letting me rant on your electrons. I am starving for a congregation of like-minded Christians...not legalists who mock humiliation by claiming wine is a sin and that it pleases God to "will-worship", or not being able to sing in the choir because I don't wear a tie...but Christians who delight in the glory of God.
Praise God for you and for His holy name. I will be coming to your website often...please be encouraged and continue in obedience under God's will.
Your encouragement has been a great comfort for me, much appreciated you blessed me good.
I fully understand your situation for I too had very similar experiences. In my case, after my conversion at 40, through a friend I frequented the biggest church in Melbourne, now about 3000, a sort of mild Pentecostal/Charismatic affair. I was happy there, but had problem with their arminianism. A couple years after I read a booklet by James Kennedy "Truths that Transform" and it did indeed transform. Get it if you can, it is worth reading. This booklet opened the way for me to read the great Reformers and other biggies of the Faith. The understanding of God’s Total Sovereignty was such a relief and comfort to my faith comparable to the conversion to Christ. Immediately I started sharing this understanding with my pastor and brethrens, but they did not want anything to do with that. That saddened me very much with deep sorrow, until the Lord showed me: "25 ¶ At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. (Matthew 11:25-26)". From there on I never looked back.
Now I am a peculiar mixture of Puritan/Reformed/Calvinist/Fundamentalist with a pinch of Pentecostalism. It suits me ok.
At my conversion, when I first saw the myriad of variants in Christianity I had a strong desire to return to my atheism, but the Lord compelled me to stay, so I prayed to Him: "Oh Lord! Please grant me Your truth: not the church’s, not the world’s, not mine, but Yours and Yours alone, or I die." He has granted some. In retrospect I believe my request should also have been: "Lord, please grant me Real Agape for your people", as I do now, for the Lord has impressed in my miserable heart this: "When facing Me and I shall ask you ‘ how much have you agaped your brethrens, those I have called to myself, how would you respond?’" I think my only answer would be Peter’s: "You know Lord".
You are right in saying that it is such a difficult concept to accept for it cuts across man’s ego reducing him to nothing resulting in even violent reactions, at times. I have come to the conclusion that this understanding is God given and there is nothing I can do to convince people, except proclaim the Word of God as it is, and in truth and prayer. Also remembering this in all humility: "For who maketh thee to differ [from another]? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive [it], why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received [it]? (1 Corinthians 4:7)"
Nevertheless, you can be sure that if you continue on this line you will be badly ostracised and you may even loose your Sunday School, no kidding, it is very possible. In these evil days this doctrine is very much maligned.
You may be acquainted with the life and teaching of AW Pink.
Dear Bro Ryan, be strong and of good courage for the road ahead is tough, be sure of that, but rejoice for our Christ Jesus has overcome the world and make certain to be found with these: "But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to [the image of] Baal. (Romans 11:4)"
Grace and Peace and the Love of Christ is with you.
aymon de albatrus