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Archive for January 9th, 2022

Find the treasure.

Posted by appolus on January 9, 2022

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life (Joh 5:39-40)

Imagine you had a map. A treasure map. It was very detailed and if followed, would lead you to the treasure which would change your whole life. You would be rich beyond imagination. Would it serve you well to study this map? Yes. Then study it more? Yes. How about you just studied the map all of your life but you never followed the map to the treasure? Would that not be madness? The whole point of the map is the treasure. The map in and of itself, the actual piece of paper on which it was written has no intrinsic value other than it leads you to the treasure. Jesus is the treasure and every part of the Word of God points towards Him.

A tragic breakdown in Evangelical circles is how we have used doctrine as a substitute for Spiritual experience. Spiritual experience should be the outgrowth of doctrine. But we make doctrine the end.(Tozer) Tozer is saying that doctrine is the means to the end, not the end itself. Jesus is the treasure and we have this treasure in earthen vessels so that the power of God may be clearly seen in us. He breaks us down and through that very brokenness shines the light and the glory of God. It was God Himself who commanded that light would shine out of darkness. The light that He has shone upon our hearts in transformation gives the light of the knowledge and the glory of God through Jesus to a dark and broken world.

This light is the Word made flesh that dwells and sits upon the very core of who we are. It illuminates through us, through the cracks and the fissures that are created in us when we are hard presses on every side yet not crushed. It shines through us when we are perplexed but not in despair. It shines mightily in us when we are persecuted but not forsaken. It shines at it’s glorious best when we are struck down by every possible set of circumstances and we emerge from the fire not destroyed! The reality of Christ lives in us. We stand because of it, not because of some doctrine that resides only in the head. That can never bring glory to God. Yet the transformed heart that shines forth the glory of God in all its glorious reality triumphantly diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

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The church that lies in ruins.

Posted by appolus on January 9, 2022

The present position of Christ in the gospel churches may be likened to that of king in a limited constitutional monarchy (think of Great Britain) The king, sometimes depersonalized by the term “the Crown,” is in such a country no more than a traditional rallying point, a pleasant symbol of unity and loyalty much like a flag or a national anthem. He is lauded, feted and supported, but his real authority is small. Nominally he is head over all, but in every crisis someone else makes the decisions. On formal occasions he appears in his royal attire to deliver the tame, colorless speech put into his mouth by the real rulers of the country. The whole thing may be no more than good-natured make believe, but is rooted in antiquity, it is a lot of fun and no one wants to give it up (Tozer)

This is a quote from the last piece Tozer ever wrote. It is a confession to being part of a system that had relegated Christ to being no more than a figurehead and that same system had robbed Jesus of His authority within their gatherings. In Great Britain there is a Queen. She and her family survive within what is known as a constitutional monarchy. She has no real power. The power all resides within Parliament and the Prime Minister. These of course are elected positions, the people choose. The Queen’s main role is cutting ribbons, launching ships and drawing tourists. She also is a symbol of stability, but in the end, she could be rejected from even this limited role if the people so chose.

This is Tozer’s argument. The average church in America has relegated Jesus to a limited role. Rather than a Prime Minister, we have a senior pastor or minister. Jesus is acknowledged as Lord, of course, but it practice He has been relegated and man has taken the position. The Holy Spirit, for the most part, has no role within the average American church. The Word of God is readily dismissed in favor of tradition and customs. The Protestant world readily criticizes the Catholic mass (as well they should) as nothing more than the same thing repeated every week. (laying aside the obvious erroneous centerpiece of the Eucharist) And yet, for the most part, you also know exactly what to expect every week at your local church.

Tozer blames the following two reasons for this disaster…..1. The power of custom, precedent and tradition within older religious groups. These, like gravitation, affect every particle of religious practice withing the group, exerting a steady and constant pressure in one direction. Of course direction is toward conformity to the status quo. Not Christ but custom is Lord. And the same thing has passed over into the other groups such as the full gospel tabernacles, the holiness churches, the pentecostal and fundamental churches and the non-denominational churches found everywhere throughout the North American continent.

The second cause is the revival of intellectualism among the evangelicals. This, if I sense the situation correctly, is not so much a thirst for learning, rather a desire for a reputation of being learned. Our Evangelical faith ( which I believe to be the true faith of Christ and His Apostles) is being attacked these days from many different directions. IN the Western world the enemy has forsworn violence. He no longer comes against us with sword and fire, he now comes smiling, bearing gifts. He raises his eyes to heaven and swears that he too believes in the faith of our fathers , but his real purpose is to destroy that faith, or at least modify it to such an extent that it is no longer a supernatural thing it once was. (Tozer-The Waning Authority of Christ in the churches-pages 14-16)

Tozer lays this out almost 70 years ago, on his death bed so to speak. The old prophet saw in one last sweep of history, what had become of the professing churches. Can I say brothers and sisters, it has degraded so much more so in the last 70 years. If the authority of Jesus was waning 70 years ago in the churches, it is all but gone now. So the question becomes “what must we do.” Tozer asks that very question in the last paragraph and I will leave you with his suggestions……….

What, then, are we to do? Each one of us must decide and there are at least three possible choices. One is to rise up in shocked indignation and accuse me of irresponsible reporting. Another is to nod in general agreement with what is written here but take comfort in the fact that there are exceptions and we are among the exceptions. The other is to go down in meek humility and confess that we have grieved the Holy Spirit and dishonored our Lord in failing to give Him the place His Father has given Him as Head and Lord of the Church. Either the first or the second will but confirm the wrong. The third, if carried out to its conclusion, will remove the curse. The decision lies with us.

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