OUR WALK OF FAITH
The reason for including this personal subject on our Website, is encouragement to do so after conversations with a Christian friend, in the hope and prayer that it may be of help and encouragement to others who are on the pathway of Faith in our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus. Always bearing in mind that one person’s experiences are not the same as another; as we are all individual formulations, due to “nature and nurture”; although there are often similarities.
The basic, and common element to all of us, is the sincere desire to know Truth from the written Word of God, the Holy Scriptures of the Bible; and for our hearts and minds to be directed and focussed on Him Who is able to give that Truth, The Holy Spirit the Author of Scripture (2Peter 1:21). Also, as will be well noted, there is worldwide differences in Scripture interpretation, and, as there can only be one Truth we must as individuals work at knowing what is authentic, and what is not (2 Tim. 2:15).
In our original search together, after my wife and I were married, through a series of “coincidences”, (which were an answer to heart felt questions), we were led to an Open Brethren Group. This event in itself was remarkable, as I had reached a stage as a young man of not trusting any human! It should be said at this stage that my background is C. of E., and my wife was educated R.C. Many of the old Brethren Meetings are now called “Evangelical”, but the variations are very wide, from the Plymouth Brethren ethos, to “Charismatic”. The Brethren experience was a good one, in the sense of basic reading of the Bible, listening to good men of sincere heart (but in our opinion in error regarding Right Division, 2 Tim. 2:15), but the Truth of our Lord’s Salvation work was preached faithfully week by week.
Shortly after we had committed to the Saving Power of Christ’s shed blood on the Cross of Calvary in 1963, (which I in particular found difficult), I was in the north of England in my function as Trouble Shooter for a Division of a large Engineering Company.
After a few days of work, I took a day off and visited nearby Whitby of early Christian history fame and ruined Abbey, and especially of Captain Cook, the great navigator and Founder of Australia.
At lunch time, I visited an Hotel for a meal located on the opposite side of the Gorge from the Abbey ruin, and I entered the building from the rear car park. As soon as I closed the door, a gracious and well-groomed silver haired old lady stood up on the opposite side of the room, and walked towards me.
As soon as she reached me, she said “do you understand the importance of Israel”?
I replied that yes, I was becoming aware. She then said “do you understand the importance of Zion”? I replied, that I was not too aware of that, and that I would study the subject. I thanked her for her comments, to which she smiled, and we parted.
The following years became very busy, with eventually four children, two boys and two girls. My work life was also very busy, working out of Frankfurt and UK for a German Division of a Swedish Company, which entailed much travel to the main Countries of the world over many years, which was very tiring for both my wife and I; but also very satisfying by growth of business and children and also knowledge of the world. By this time my wife was also working for the Company as my PA/secretary.
The time in Hotels when away afforded much opportunity for both study of the Bible, and observation of the many cultures, and India in particular stood out for its many Pagan Religions, closely followed by most of Asia! All of these as I later understood originated in Babylon, and had eventually spread mainly eastwards, but also reached South America via the Polynesians, and North America via the Eastern Asian peoples, using the land/ice bridge to what we call Alaska and was/is evident in the North American Indians.
These have been confirmed by the many genetic sample Surveys conducted in the past few years.
An outstanding feature of note in the Western Cultures, was/is the spread of the Charismatic Teaching, in Europe USA and the Antipodes. This phenomenal growth has undoubtedly had a bad effect on the reputation of Christianity worldwide.
About the same time, we were not satisfied with the teaching on the Pentecost Event as it was taught and assumed. After approaching the Elders of the Open Brethren Group we were attending, which seemed to be the correct next step according to the Acts period direction (we later found out that the Acts instructions are not valid for this present Dispensation), instead of clear answers, we were treated as heretics for daring to question the teaching. After that experience, we decided to prayerfully, and sincerely try to find answers to our questions by recourse to the fountainhead; The Bible! The question grew, which version of the Bible? See: The Events of Pentecost; What is the Truth? (Discussion Document).
At the time we were involved with three groups, an Open Brethren group, a C. of E. prayer group in our village, and a Charismatic group which we attended, but were not card carrying members. Our Bible study was centred on Authorised, but also using NIV, Revised Standard, J.N. Darby and others.
During this period, a man called David Watson (at that time based in St Michael Le Belfry, York, UK), was conducting “Festivals of Faith” in the UK and in USA. He came to our locality, and we attended, and due to the “Charismatic” nature of the proceedings, this seemed a “sent” opportunity to study the veracity of the Charismatic claims, by detailed examination of the teaching and activities.
The short version of this story is that David died, despite claims that he was “healed”. This particular event had wide reach, as he was becoming quite well known in the Western World’s Charismatic circles. Despite much “prophecy” that he would be healed of his Cancer, which was published far and wide particularly in USA, he died!
The leader of our local Charismatic Group (Roger Price) also died of Cancer, despite claims that he was healed! Both these men were of high calibre, and outstanding sincerity, and in the case of Roger we had much discussion and personal communion, as he gained our trust due to his self-deprecation and honest personal comments re. evidence of “miracles on demand”. In this context, we attended two of the so called ‘Healing Meetings’, both were conducted by visiting ‘Healers’, and it was noted that in the queue at the second meeting were many of the same people as at the first, wishing to be ‘healed’ by the laying on of hands, or other contact by the ‘Healer’! I questioned Roger as to why that had happened, and he said he did not know. I also asked him if he had ever witnessed actual irrefutable healing; he said he had not! He did volunteer the information that his wife, as a practicing Gynaecologist, was conducting her own survey as to the same question! This was the candour which endeared him to us, as he was a well-educated man, and had shown his honesty on more than one occasion. However, events quickly changed the emphasis in his life, and he died shortly after!
It is our personal view that these two men who died within a very short time of each other, Roger only 37, and David 50, were taken in Grace by the Lord, due to their sincere hearts but misconceived teaching. They were having very rapid growth and following; which was deceiving many people in the UK and USA!
During the above mentioned experiences with David Watson and Roger Price; the writer had contacted an old friend (Jack Packwood) to discuss the Charismatic teaching on healing. Jack, a very wise Christian only said “are you sure you have mandate from Scripture for healing now as in the Acts period”? My long experience of this man, and his great spiritual heart and mind, led me to trust him more than most, and I stored his comments. I remembered later on, that I had attended a Bible Study lecture by Albert Leckie in 1963, and he had stated that “miracles as per the empowerment of the Disciples ended at the end of the Acts”! This man also was a rare spiritual presence, and had given up his lucrative worldly career to speak full time for Christ.
Our prayer group in the village was stunned when a young boy died of Leukaemia; the son of one of our members, despite the expectation and prayer of some of the members, who had been meeting regularly, early in the morning at the local Parish Church, praying for his healing. This was in the mode and teaching of the Charismatics, who had encouraged such. This was undertaken as the Bible seemed to say that such was possible, particularly in Acts!
In the event, the teachers and leaders were left somewhat at a loss to give explanations, so most blamed “the lack of faith of the participants”! At that stage, the intensity of questioning in our minds was almost overwhelming. In my own case, I would not accept the sterile and trite explanations we were supposed to swallow! This was in my case the second critical point in my walk of faith/ searching. My wife was in a state, as she often said, “of simple trust”. That in my case mattered, but I wanted to know why the Word did not seem to follow through in practice!
Over a short period of time, it came to my mind that either we were misunderstanding The Word, or it was not valid!
There then followed a series of events in our lives and my career, which entailed a move of location to the West Midlands, and to a small village in Worcestershire. Again to shorten the story, we made acquaintance very quickly with a family in the village, who apparently were the only Christians. From that contact, we were introduced to various Bible writers and scholars, and one in particular, who had studied the Authorised Version and others, and compared them against the manuscripts in the British Museum and elsewhere, Dr E.W. Bullinger. He was an acclaimed Greek and Hebrew Scholar, and he produced copious notes on his translation comparisons in a wide margin, in (The Companion Bible) showing the errors and deliberate mistranslations in the AV, and other Bibles, notably Jerome but left the KJV 1611 intact as the main Text. He also had access to the work of the renowned Greek and Hebrew scholar, Dr. David Ginsberg, whose work on the Old Testament was famous due to his Massorah labours. (Dr. Ginsberg, who was trained at Warsaw Rabbinical College as an Orthodox Jew, became a Christian due to his findings that the Christology of the Old Testament had been expunged by Jewish writers and teachers over centuries of revision of Jewish Scriptures).
I was reminded at that time of my concern to have access to a version of the Bible that I could trust, and that I had prayed 7 years earlier for such! I had noticed even in early study, that there were many different renderings, which make significant difference to the understanding and meaning! (See bottom Link list).
Again to shorten the story, from Dr Bullinger’s Companion Bible, and other of his Works, over the following approx. 25 years, the answers to our cutting questions have been answered for us, as this man’s fidelity to his Saviour, and his dedication to the accuracy of his work, produced what has been acknowledged as one of the most faithful renderings of the original Holy Spirit inspired manuscripts. His other major contribution to the true understanding of the Age of Grace we now live in, is that of Acts 28:25-28; which together with his, and his then contemporary Charles Welch, has done great service worldwide to proper understanding, and therefore “Right Division” of Scripture!
The concentration by Dr. Bullinger and Charles Welch (and others) on Acts 28:28, as the major dividing line between the Old Testament and the New (better defined as between the Age of the Jew (Ammi) and that of the Jews (Lo-Ammi), together with the realisation of the gross error of replacement theology, see: Replacement Theology answers the many anomalies thrown up by the worldwide wrong teaching in Sunday Schools, Pulpits, and the many Groups that the Reformation and the early Church, has inspired. It has its critics, particularly in the “established” Churches, as it is so critical of their incorrect and error teachings, but to us, and to millions of others, it has opened up God’s Word like never before, and that gives the freedom Christ expressed as ours, “who believe” (2Cor. 3:17)!
The work of these men also links into the above related story of the (chance?) meeting with the gracious lady in Whitby, as Acts 28:28 although sad for Israel at that time and now; augers the prophecy of Hosea 1:10 which describes the re-adoption of Israel to Ammi again (“My firstborn son”) probably in the near future, when considering “the Arab Spring” currently, and Revelation 13: See: The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
That would also auger the second comment she made to me, as Zion is the location of the “appearing” of the second Advent of Christ Jesus as the Messiah of Israel; who will rule the whole world for 1000 years from Jerusalem: See: Zion.
We have attended groups that we consider are not too far out, as regards Truth. As we travel quite a lot, they can be anywhere. A favourite of ours was one our eldest son and family attended, which we would class as Open Brethren, and that particular group rejected a Charismatic surge approx. 20 years ago, and have been blessed as a consequence.
However, they do not embrace or understand “Right Division” in our context, but are sincere in their Gospel message and worship; in similar mode to the example given in Lloyd Allen’s book: ‘The Church! When did it Begin’?
Criterion we hold as paramount for true Christian Groups are; the group must be Christ centred, must openly and unashamedly preach Salvation by faith in the shed Blood of Christ (Acts 4:12), Christ Risen and seated at the Right Hand of The Father, and returning in Power and Great Glory in the future.
As regards putting ourselves again under the authority of a Church eldership or dictate, that is not possible, unless the Oversight understands the ‘Right Divide of Scripture’, 2Tim. 2:15. However, that does not necessarily stop fellowship, worship, or involvement where there is goodwill.
We feel passionately that time is short, and we no longer seek answers from men, but from The Holy Spirit direct. As you will have seen in our lives, the “Elders” and “Experts” can be unreliable in the extreme, when it comes to the difficult questions regarding the real Truth of Scripture!
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