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Table of Contents
Volume 45, Number 3
August - October 2014

Sermons

The Adventures of Squirrelock Holmes (TM)

Planting and Building Healthy Churches

Just For Ladies...

Significant Trends

Bible Study Corner

Answers in Genesis

Sumner's Incidents and Illustrations

Letters We Love

Matters of Opinion

Points For Preachers to Ponder

Book Reviews

Son Bloc - A Column for Young Men

Articles of Interest

Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver

Gone Fishing

Our Secular World

Off the Cuff!

Email Link To A Friend

Off the Cuff (Part 1)
Dr. Robert L. Sumner

Well, your editor learned the hard way that he is mortal. When you look down the road and see an 87th birthday on the horizon, there is a tendency to think you are different. Not true.

During the Christmas holidays I suffered a stroke and spent several days in the hospital, got out and promptly experienced the stomach virus making the rounds. If you ever have a stroke I suggest you follow the editor’s example. He was in the hospital visiting Grandson Alex (our Son Bloc columnist and a Liberty University freshman) who was recovering from a burst appendix. While there I began experiencing some ‘strange’ feelings, went to the emergency room, and got immediate attention!

So, if you are going to have a stroke, have it when you are already at the hospital. You get faster and better attention (there is a three-hour ‘window’ wherein you have ‘minor’ stroke problems and ‘major’ ones. I was released on New Year’s Eve. (No, I did not attend a watch night service or even ‘see’ the New Year in; I ‘slept’ it in!) A couple of days later we were having a ‘family reunion’ Christmas whoop-la at a rented place and that stomach virus hit this old man. The previous time he regurgitated was in 1975; the time before that he was a little kid. This time made up for all the stomach silence of the decades! Wow! Hopefully, that was my last time. There were 31 at our ‘party’ and 16 of them had that problem, in one form or another.

One of my carotid arteries was 70-99% blocked and my cardio doctor blamed that for the stroke. So … on February 3rd,, I checked into the hospital again for either a stent to be put in the carotid artery, or surgery later on it to clean it out. The doc won’t know until he tries to put the stent it (if not, the surgery will take place). This is being written before ‘the main event,’ so I can’t report what he did.

So, by God’s grace, we are able to present another issue of The Biblical Evangelist.

What do we have? Well, there is a scholarly study about what happens after death, by J. Frank Norris, pastor of two major churches, one in Texas and one in Michigan, back in the days when travel was neither speedy or comfortable. You will be helped by it and it will give you ammunition the next time a JW knocks on your door. It is a message worthy of our Bible Study Corner.

As for the actual Bible Study Corner, we are running Part Two of the study Richard Kidd and his wife put together on marriage. Like Part One in our last issue, it is something husbands and wives need to read and study together. It wouldn’t hurt engaged couples to study it, either, although perhaps separately in their case.

One of our favorite sermonizers, Donald Prout, has a fascinating study on the ‘splendid’ coward. This will be our third sermon of his since he took off for Heaven in 2007.

Then there is a sermon preached on the sawdust trail by the inimitable Billy Sunday. He was a biblical fighter, wasn’t he? And in this message he is attempting to enlist recruits for the Lord’s army.

Our friend, Elmer Towns, who heads up the School of Religion at Liberty University, has a good study about one of the problems our Southern Baptist friends are having these days: the matter of 5-point Calvinists in their churches. Since it is a problem in a lot of places, we think it will prove helpful to everyone.

The editor’s offering this month is an evangelistic message dealing with Elijah, Ahab and Jezebel. It must be a good one as a prominent Southern Baptist “borrowed” all my main points and all my illustrations and put them in a sermon in one of his popular sermon book series.

Perhaps we should mention here that we are re-running that “blockbuster” ad on many of our books that we had in our last issue. It is on page 20 and you will find tremendous bargains. If you are smart, you will use the occasion to stock up on books for gifts – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and just about everything else. Pastors and Sunday School teachers will find excellent gifts for church and school as well. The postal system in some sections of the country is so tardy, sometimes a sale is about over before it reaches the homes of our subscribers. As far as we know, this is the last time we will make these amazing offers.

In the last ad an incorrect e-mail address was accidentally given. If you ordered and didn't get a response, that was probably the reason. The correct address is in this issue, page 20.

 

MILESTONES

 

The only milestone we are going to mention this month is the inauguration of our 44th President of the United States, Barak Hussein Obama. After all, we are told in I Timothy 2:1-4, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

So this is not something optional, but a definite command to pray for all those in positions of authority. Since his election I have been praying two things: (1) that we might lead quiet and peaceable lives in godliness and honesty under his administration; (2) that President Obama might come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Those are the two things especially mentioned and emphasized in verses three and four of that text.

We frankly admit we do not think he is a Christian. Every time he opens his mouth and says something “religious,” he shows he has no idea about biblical teaching regarding salvation – or hardly any other scriptural subject, for that matter.

 

MEMORIALS

 

Many us played ‘cowboys and Indians’ when we were kids, but Donald George Bryan was the real McCoy. He was proficient in roping and bronco-busting, learning his trade on his father’s ranch, but eventually working for ORO, one of the largest ranches in Arizona (it was so huge it extended down into Mexico).

When World War II broke out, he enlisted in the Navy and fought in the invasions of Bougainville, Guadalcanal and Guam. It was in the service that he met and married Edna Mae (June wedding, 1942). After the war, they traveled a lot, finally settling in Alaska. That’s where the couple got saved. Moving down to Richland, Washington and worshiping at the local Baptist church, God began to work in their lives. They decided they needed some Bible training and, with friends, moved to Southern California. Intending to study for one semester, they stayed for seven years and Don graduated from the old Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary in 1956 (that institution is now at Tacoma, WA and our columnist, Mark Wagner, is president).

We held meetings for him in November of 1975 (our second meeting at First Baptist in Wilson, KS, but the first with him). Don, as we called him, wrote a number of interesting cowboy gospel tracts, including “Bar None,” “The Wild Stallion,” “The Wrong Trail” and “Bar None Cowboy.” Another friend for whom we held meetings years ago is taking over his tract ministry: Rev. Harvey Seidel, First Baptist Church, 300 South 6th Street, Thermopolis, WY 82443. So order them from him.

Don was as good a Christian as he was a cowboy and evangelism was always on his front burner. Edna, his wife of 66 years, survives him. He was 95 at the time of his promotion.

Dr. Leslie “Bud” Lyles is a friend of longstanding, serving as song leader and soloist is several of my united meetings years ago. The daughter of Bud and his wife Dottie, Sherrie Lyles Alsup, was plagued with cancer for at least two years. She and her husband, Rod, served as missionary/church planters for several years at Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

We’ve know Rod for a long time, too; in fact, he took care of our office yard in Tennessee and did a fantastic job. We gave him an unsolicited letter of recommendation when we moved our office to Texas, noting what a hard worker he was and what an excellent job he did. While he did not ask for it, we wanted to give it to him to help get other customers after we moved away.

Sherrie did everything she could to fight the dread plague of cancer, using surgery and numerous treatments, but the battle was finally lost in mid-January. A memorial service was held at a funeral home in Calgary and then her body was shipped to Greenville (SC) where a funeral took place on the 23rd of January. Three preachers spoke: Dr. Bob Jones, III; Dr. Bill Rice, III; and the Lyles’ pastor, the Rev. Bryce Hager of the Fellowship Baptist Church. Interment was at Graceland East Cemetery in Taylors.

In lieu of flowers, the family requested that memorials in her name be given to Evangelism Foundation, Inc., P. O. Box 27121, Greenville, SC 29616.

In the political/conservative world, we mourn the passing of Paul Weyrich, a founder of the Heritage Foundation and the chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, which he headed up until his demise. Only 66, he had suffered for years with diabetes and the amputations caused by it.

Don Wildmon of the American Family Association called him “a very devout Christian” and an elder in his church. He also noted that he had probably spent 40 years working for conservative causes.

Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family said, "Paul Weyrich fought tirelessly for three decades to protect the preborn, preserve traditional marriage, and ensure that people of faith had a voice in shaping the public-policy that affected their lives. Had there been no Paul Weyrich, there would be no conservative movement as we know it."

Real conservative leaders are getting in short supply these days, making the comment “he will be missed,” an understatement.

 

POURED OUT AS MILK,

CURDLED LIKE CHEESE

 

Job, early in his misery, declared: “Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews” (Job 10:8-11).

The prophet was saying in somewhat different words what the psalmist declared in a Davidic masterpiece: “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16).

But Job was not only marveling in the wonder of God’s handiwork, he was complaining that it was beginning to look like God made him merely to destroy him. Do you ever feel like that? You know God has been working in your life, but it is beginning to seem like it is all for naught! It is beginning to look like God is a farmer on strike seeking to get higher returns on milk by pouring good, rich milk out into the gutter. Why? Why?

Actually, the complaining Job was doing was in realty God’s way of making rich, wonderful, tasty, nutritious cottage cheese. You’ve heard the saying, “If life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.”  God was saying to Job, “You seem to think I am beating up on you. Not so. Taste some of this delicious cottage cheese and enjoy!

 

AND HE WASN’T EVEN

A YANK!

 

Did you know that the minister who was instrumental in getting “Under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance was not even a native American? In fact, he had never heard our pledge until his 7-year-old son quoted it in his presence. Rev. George M. Docherty, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. – just blocks from the White House – was born in Scotland. In 1952, he delivered a sermon deploring the omission and saying it should be in the Pledge.

The Glasgow native told the Associated Press, interviewing him over a half-century later: "I came from Scotland, where we said 'God save our gracious queen,' 'God save our gracious king.' Here was the Pledge of Allegiance, and God wasn't in it at all." The 1952 sermon didn’t have much effect, but when he learned President Dwight Eisenhower would be in his church early in February of 1954, he decided to preach it again.

This time it worked!

Congressman Charles G. Oakman (R-MI), the every next day, introduced a bill to insert the phrase "under God," a Senator introduced a companion bill to that body – and the rest is history! Whether Oakman was present in the service or the President put a ‘bug in his ear,’ as the saying goes, we have no idea. Anyway, President Eisenhower signed it into law on Flag Day the same year. Now you know, as Paul Harvey would say, “The Rest of the Story.”

Docherty had planned to live to be 100, but he died the other day (on Thanksgiving!) at the tender age of 97.

 

BAILOUT FEVER

 

Chuck Colson, in his new life, is a religious leader, not a politician. But he had good insight on the problem, ‘naming names’:

"The Main Stream Media (MSM) worshipped at the altar of the Jack Abramoff scandal during the 2006 cycle; of which, Republicans lost control of the House and the Senate ... well, do you think the MSM will unleash the dogs on Fannie CEOs Jim Johnson & Franklin Raines (Clinton's director of OMB) ... Jim Johnson (Mondale's campaign manager) became CEO of Fannie Mae and took $10's of millions for himself ... Franklin Raines (Clinton's Budget Director) took over $100 million for himself ... Janet Reno and her sidekick Jamie Gorelick (who denied the FBI access to CIA files on the 9/11 bombers that would have stopped them before they acted) have taken over $75 million for themselves from Fannie?"

To answer Colson's question ... don't bet on it!

Colson again:

"So what did Fannie and Freddie get for their lobbying efforts? Political cover and huge compensation packages for their executives, like Franklin Raines, who received $91 million over a seven-year period. And they were pushed by House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank to dive into the incredibly risky sub-prime mortgage business."

"Why would Frank and other politicians encourage that? Well, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, Congressman Frank 'pushed through’ an 'affordable housing' trust fund in the Congress, a fund that 'siphons off ... as much as $500 million a year each' from Fannie and Freddie profits to another 'fund that politicians can then disburse to their favorite special interests'."

In plain English, the Journal is claiming that Frank legislatively “pushed” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make questionable loans and Congress used the proceeds from these loans to fund Congressional pork and pet programs!

We agree with Neil Cavuto that the spectacle of the big wigs in Congress lecturing the big wigs of the auto industry on “fiscal responsibility” is a farce. They are the ones who – by spend, spend, spend policies – have voted to spend trillions of taxpayers monies without even reading the full bill they are voting on, running debt up to the point the average citizen cannot even imagine or visualize it! It’s a sham. It is hypocrisy of the first order.

Senator Christopher Dodd said General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner should be replaced. We agree. In fact, we will add to it and say Dodd should be replaced, as one of the Washington leaders responsible for the “mess we is in.” His resignation would certainly be in order under the circumstances.

Here is the way National Review editor Jonah Goldberg expressed it: "The costs of Washington's bailout fiesta are now so huge, you can see them from space. The latest number, which includes the Citigroup rescue, is $7.7 trillion. That's roughly half of America's GDP.” Economist Lawrence Kudlow put it like this: “We've moved beyond show me the money. This is throw me the money.”

Speaking of bailouts: Egypt had a really rough time in its agricultural business (Genesis 47:18-20). The federal government bailed them out, taking over their farms. It was not a good idea and the cost was heavy for the citizens.

 

THE TRAVOLTA TRAGEDY

 

We have sincere sympathy for John Travolta – a Hollywood actor seemingly a cut above many, morally speaking, in that land of make-believe – in the loss of his son. It was a severe tragedy and the family will never get over it, we are confident. He and his family are members of the Church of Scientology, a cult that attracts many Hollywoodites – such as Priscilla Presley and daughter Lisa Marie, educated in a Scientology school; Nicole Kidman, singer Isaac Hayes, Kristy Alley, Anne Archer, Juliette Lewis, etc. – because it sounds scientific/intelligent and most of them are too biblically illiterate to know the difference. Time magazine called it “The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power.” The Watchman Expositor described it “A Religious Mafia?” Travolta’s fellow Scientologist Tom Cruise, in our observation at least, is an absolute nut, but John seems genuine.

Scientific? Founder Hubbard, according to the Wall Street Journal, “… fashioned a creation myth around Xenu, who froze and transported thetan souls to volcanoes in Teegeeack, now earth.” Try this ‘revelation’ on for size. When the book, Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health, was first published, Christian Victory published this quote from its pages: “You let your mind slide back on its ‘time-track’ – back to youth, to boyhood or girlhood, to childhood, finally to the time when you were a baby. And ultimately you may get all the way back to the prenatal state, where you can actually remember and repeat things your parents said before you were born.” Sure, sure! You may even remember seeing Santa emerge from the fireplace with his sack of toys on Christmas Eve.

This false religion was launched by a science fiction writer, L. Ron (the “L” stands for Lafayette) Hubbard, who was also a bigamist (married Sara Northrup while still married to Polly Grubb, by whom he had two children; he married his third wife at age 41 when she was 19 and two months pregnant), and he was quoted in the May 1980 Reader’s Digest, titled “Scientology: Anatomy of a Frightening Cult,” as saying, before he started Scientology, "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion," a statement he first made publicly in 1949.

So he did!

We mention it now because the Travolta tragedy caused many to blame their religion. Whether it was involved in any way is too early to tell, but Travolta, Cruise and other members were strong and loud in denunciation of such an idea. I can tell you the nature of Founder Hubbard as seen in his statement on August 15, 1967, “If anyone is getting industrious trying to … stop Scientology or its activities, I can make Capt. Bligh look like a Sunday-school teacher. There is probably no limit on what I would do to safeguard Man’s only road to freedom (sic) against persons who … seek to stop Scientology or hurt Scientologists.”

Yet you can hardly blame the current accusers since Scientology has been in its share of trouble in this very area. Perhaps the most noted case involved fellow member Lisa McPherson, a lady who was not exactly a pauper. It seems she was involved in a very minor traffic accident and was taken the next day to the cult’s headquarters in Clearwater (FL). In barely two weeks of Scientology care, Lisa was dead. Her relatives blamed the cult, charging staff members with allowing her to become severely dehydrated, causing death.

In fact, they went to court. And this ‘church,’ that has long threatened every theological critic with law suits who dared expose it in print, eventually “settled the suit out of court!” Those knowing its history think that settlement spoke volumes. After all, one apologist called Scientology “the most litigious religion in the history of churches founded in the United States,” and another one said it “has been the target of police investigations and litigation” more than any other modern religious cult.

To further compound the problem in this area, Hubbard came up with a detoxification treatment that he evidently thought would win him a Nobel Prize. Quite the contrary, it proved him a fake. It operates under something called HealthMed and some legit clinics got suckered by it, apparently because of the Scientology name. The city of Shreveport (LA), for example, bought into it, but after shelling out $80,000 without seeing much benefit, hired the National Medical Advisory Service, Inc., a Maryland medical consulting firm, to investigate it.

Its report, prepared by Dr. Ronald E. Gots, concluded: "The treatment … preyed upon the fears of concerned workers, but served no rational medical function. ... Moreover, the program itself, developed not by physicians or scientists, but by the founder of the Church of Scientology, has no recognized value in the established medical and scientific community. It is quackery."

The city's finance director concluded, "I think we were misled."

Indeed.

That is why we say we have sympathy for the Travoltas but none for Scientology, falsely so-called (I Timothy 6:10). It is a counterfeit religion, a cult completely contrary to the Word of God and Biblical Christianity. It preys on the gullible.

[Some of the above was based on pervious articles in TBE and some from Dr. William A. BeVier’s articles in the Discerner.]

 

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