Friday, August 31, 2007

On the Verge, or Afraid to Merge?

On the Verge, or afraid to Merge?

Each morning I drive to work, and along my journey two highways intersect, and we the driver, are channeled through what is known as a “merge lane”. This sounds as simple as it’s aptly named, all one must do is merge. However, invariably there in the lane made for the “merge” is someone STOPPED in the lane, blinker racing treating the merge lane, like a stop sign or a point in which to yield …

Don’t they get it? They’re not supposed to be stopped, waiting, or yielding!!! They are supposed to MERGE!!!

“PUNCH THE GAS LADY, AND MERGE!” I think to myself or vocalize in the privacy of my automobile…

What keeps people from merging? Are the insecure, do they not feel it’s safe, or do they not feel ready to do so? Well there’s a lesson here for sure! I think in some ways it is what keeps us from victory, destiny and purpose… For we are either on the verge, or we’re afraid to merge.

What keeps us from traveling roads that we so desire to travel, from taking land that we want to take…

What keeps us from victory? What keeps us from a breakthrough, from a revival, from a real move of God? What holds us back?

Well, one thing I am certain of is it cannot be God. For through the ages since the dawn of creation it is easy to see from all the work the Lord has invested in us, His creation, that God wants to move!

1) God desires to perform His work with us, not without us!

From the Tabernacle, to the cross, from the resurrection to the ascension, from Pentecost to the living Word! We have witnessed a God, who desires to move among us, His people. He desires to interact, and empower you and me!

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, prophesied in Joel, poured out in the upper room, manifest in millions of believers all over the world since the day of Pentecost is proof that God desires to work through us, and has made the provision to do so!

In fact Jesus stated the same anointing that was on Him is going to be on you and I, and as many as the Lord our God shall call. That is proof that God desires to work among us

From the men such as Abraham, Moses, Noah, to men like Peter, Paul and Silas, it is clear and evident that the desire of God is to empower His people for service.

Remember God said you shall be endued with power from on high and you shall be witnesses unto me… to the uttermost parts of the earth!

It was God who said

(Jeremiah 29:11) For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD , "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Why however do we still seem to be in such lack, regarding a move of God?

Why are our altars not overwhelmed?

Why are our pews not crowded?

Why are we not making more noise in our city?

Consider the apprehension of humanity.

2) Because the typical response of the prophet is to first run from the call of God.

In every move of God, God had to deal with “apprehension” in one of two forms: laziness or insecurity..

I am sure there’s a more eloquent way of wording this, but by and by, these two road blocks are the biggest obstacles.

Consider the all great bible hero’s!

Gideon, the valiant warrior who fought with great faith!

Moses, the deliver escorting the Israelites from the clutches of Egypt the tyrannical enslavers!

Peter of whom the first church was lead!

Jonah, the fiery evangelist to Nineveh!

All of them were men of meager means, and lives, before God made them giants.

For seldom does God choose the noblemen of this world to be the leaders of His battalions, it is those of seemingly little consequence that He plucks from the vineyard of normalcy and then ripens them to greatness!

He has used men and woman worse than, less talented than, more fearful than you and I…

And through them He has

Split seas

Slain armies

Raised the dead

Through them He has done mighty acts, moved heaven and earth, changed nations and called out a church of every people and tongue! What mighty things God can do through His people!

Christian apprehension for the most part, is due to our lack of confidence in who we are, or what we can be? This is a grave error, one that God often has to correct first, before He can use us, and before he could use the men I just mentioned

We must be forced to see, what God is capable of doing in spite of faults, and shortcomings! A critical lesson is learned.

The weakness of men, platforms the power of God!

(2 Corinthians 12:10) …. for when I am weak, then am I strong.

It is when we are most weak that God can show the greatness of His strength!

It is in that, that we are most inept that sets the stage for the anointing!

The struggle God had with Moses, Gideon and others is training them not to look to themselves as the answer, the power, or the solution.

We have never been the solution…

We have never been the answer

Jesus is the answer!

Why is that so hard to learn?

Finally

3) We all have that within us that desires to do something great, something special, something noteworthy.

We have falsely labeled that “ambition” and unfortunately, many times, it becomes little more than that.

How sad some settle for mere stardom, fame and fortune. They spend their lives chasing lights, and sound stages… When what waited for them was the real purpose God designed for them.

Some have wasted away, famine’d by the chasing of stardom, and magazine covers… Certainly this sheds new light on why some, who seem to have it all…

Fame

Money

Success

And having attained the dream they become such a mess, doped up, drugged up, depressed, lost and suicidal! Why? Because they sought to fulfill the God impregnated desire within them to be something special… by means of worldly treasure. Their failure to interpret that as worldly gain instead of Godly purpose produced within them despair, feeling unfulfilled, and lost, and many times suicidal..

I promise you God has a plan, and that plan for you was designated before your conception… and nothing will fill that void. Not money, not fame, not notoriety…

So go ahead… man, woman, whomever you are…PUNCH THE GAS AND MERGE!…. Move into the flow of God, get on destiny’s road

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Quest - Oneness to Trinitarian: Denying Fear

One of the most common elements used to retain congregants, relationships, and/or loyalty; is fear. Fear of what may be, and fear of what might happen! I can recall all to well the multiple “Word from God” warnings I received regarding my departure from the Oneness Pentecostal faith. I can recall the many horror stories of once strong Christians who suddenly ended up in sexual depravity, alcoholism and drug use because of their departure from Oneness theology. These “backsliders” were exampled from the pulpit, during bible studies, and even casual conversations… These were all lessons, and certainly many have been subject to this style pedagogy.

What is the real school of thought being taught here though? Is it a warning being given, perhaps a passionate beg in the spirit of genuine concern, or something more deceptive and subtle?

My thought is the real intent of the lesson is not so much my personal well being, but instead an attempt to control, by means of fear. I can think of few things I like less, than the attempts of man to intimidate, and control others with fear.

Fear is often used when genuine reason is not an ample means of persuasion. That’s a good statement there, and you can quote me!


Fear is often used when genuine reason is not an ample means of persuasion.


Fear is often used when genuine concern is not present, and fear is often used because of its power of manipulation. Fear can be a strong motivator! Consider Peter, who denied the Lord Jesus! Fear caused him to do something that he had determined he would not do! Something his heart desired not to do! Fear often makes us act in ways we might not, and live in ways we don’t want to.

This is my second entry on fear, and for good reason. You need to be aware of its power over your life. Many times we become so accustomed to fear, we no longer realize we have it! However close contemplation and reflection reveals to us that our lives have been shaped by it; it has become the steady seasoning of our diet, the salt of our sustenance! Such as:

God will stomp out...

God will make bad things happen to you, curse your life

God will not put up with you

God will not tolerate your bad decisions

God will not bless that mess

They lost the anointing when they left

God is mad at you

AND SO ON!!!

I am reminded of the story that circulated our former particular doctrinal persuasion… It recounted the tale of a young woman who was faithful to God, in the avenue of her uncut hair. She would not cut her hair as her reasonable service to God.( a well established/accepted doctrine of the Oneness Pentecostals is a woman cannot cut her hair) Well she fell into all sorts of sin, finally reaching the moral depraved consciousness that allowed her to cut her hair. She cut it… What ensued, as the story goes, was a horrible rape, followed by a “so you see…” Somehow indicating that the woman brought on the offense, by the cutting of her hair… Makes you upset, doesn’t it?

Okay well, while I agree that many times we propel ourselves out of God’s hand into all sort of dangerous circumstances… But God allowed a woman to be accosted because she cut her hair? Gee, I don’t think so. This little story is not an actual occurrence, instead it is a device, and its sole purpose is to control, in the absence of logical persuasion.

As silly as this is, as offensive as it sounds… what silly fables and fears have you accepted as truth?

What silly lies have you believed?

Come on, what doctrinal, theological boogie man, is in your closet?

Think about it for a moment? Check under the bed, that monster may be all in your head…

I’ll leave you with this! From the Message Bible

1 John 4:18 There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life--fear of death, fear of judgment--is one not yet fully formed in love.


For more information on the Trinity - Please check out my "Sermon Notes" link on the right.




For more information on the uncut hair doctrine please look at the “Holiness Standards” under the “CATEGORIES” section to the right.


And by the way: My dear friend Pastor Nar, always ends with this, and I think I’ll share his sentiments

“God is not mad at you”

Bertrand Russell:

Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Quest – Oneness To Trinity Part Two

Courage to Change – Faith to Follow

Greetings friends, glad to have you visit again! My Pastor, Pastor Jeff Baker, asked me to share some more of my experiences that aided my journey... I hope you enjoy

One of the obstacles or the brick walls of making a real and effective change is the element of fear. How many of us have been stalled, thwarted or imprisoned by fear?

As I continue to write concerning my journey from Oneness to Trinitarian, I’d like to examine the element of fear that was present in my journey.

Why was I afraid? Well as I stated in my teaching on the Trinity… in Session 2 – as a Oneness Pentecostal I was always taught that anyone outside of Oneness Pentecostalism was a non Christian, and that my friend is not limited to non-believers, such as the heathen or the pagan, it is inclusive of ALL including Trinitarian Christians.

That’s right, consider the hero’s past… Men such as: Martin Luther, Charles Finney or Billy Graham… LOST! LOST! LOST! Scary stuff right?

Therefore to consider that the doctrine of the Trinity may be truth. Wow, that was … well it was scary. I was risking my salvation! How was I going to overcome this deposit of influence in my life, look past the foreboding feeling that life was going to fall apart? How was I going to look at the Bible in a clear manner not influenced by the stifling fear forced upon me?

Well perhaps the Holy Spirit could help?

One such avenue was a spiritual experience… Let’s talk about a particular scenario that occurred in my life:

Joyce Meyer

You may or may not like Joyce Meyer… However, she is an excellent communicator, and she unknowingly played a role in the transformation of my wife and me. My wife listens to her all the time, and she did during the Oneness Pentecostal years as well.

That was a problem for me!

During those times, I was so frustrated with my wife who was listening to that… that… short haired, make up wearing, Trinitarian! I mean what was wrong with my wife, How could she?

While Gina would watch Joyce Meyer, I would leave the room! The problem was in that tiny little house we lived in, even though I parked myself staunchly in the kitchen,(voicing my opposition) I could hear Joyce! How irritating! What was more irritating than that? Well, the fact that I liked what she was saying… (Shhhhhhh – don’t tell!) She was ministering to me! Slowly I moved from listening in the kitchen, to the door way of the kitchen… then after some time I started standing in the living room (after all as long as I was not sitting and watching, somehow I had not fully given approval, nor had I non-verbally consented to the validity of Joyce Meyer being saved and (gulp) anointed!)

Then one day the unthinkable happened…

I watched SITTING down!!

I even attended a Joyce Meyer conference… A defining moment! There I was face to face with truth… Truth in the form of the Holy Spirit… I wept at that conference… I mean I really wept… in fact the sweet woman next to me offered me a couple dozen tissues… and I needed them. The presence of God was so strong, and I had been so… self righteous, so wrong, and guess what, I was busted.

The Holy Spirit was working on me, bringing change…

Let me speak to you for a moment, you who fear change, yet feel the pull of God. What is God saying to you, how is He speaking to your heart?

We should never undervalue the potential of the Holy Spirit to pull us and lead us in the direction He wants us to go…

(John 16:13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.

In regards to being afraid – we need to listen to the words of Paul in Romans 8

(Romans 8:14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

(Romans 8:15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

(Romans 8:16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Hear that? We do not have a SPIRIT OF FEAR!!! But instead we have the Holy Spirit, and just as He was guiding me from the Oneness movement to Trinitarianism, so He has the power and authority to guide you, also, to wherever He wants you to go!

Do you trust the Holy Spirit?

How is He leading you even now?

Is it scary?

It very well may be, new things, and changes often are. But we can trust the Lord… We can in spite of the fear we may feel forge ahead, knowing that He who has begun a good work in us, will complete it!

(Philippians 1:6) Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

I want to talk more about the power to change and the fears and emotions that can be associated with that, while chronicling some of the events and emotions I experienced.

God used that which seemed most offensive, actually offensive to religion and traditions of men, to soften my heart.

How is God dealing with you?

Are you certain you’re following the Holy Spirit, or simply following personal preference and tradition?

Let God lead you, listen to His Spirit…


If you'd like to more theologically on the Trinity, and it's relation to the Oneness doctrine - please view the "Trinity Sermon Notes" on this site, under the "Featured Studies" heading, just to the right - Thanks and God Bless




Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Silly Rollie Pollie!

Walking through the house yesterday, I noticed something scurrying across the floor. It was a small pill bug, or more commonly known as a Rollie Pollie…

I don’t like to co-habitat with bugs, rodents and reptiles…

They “bug” me!(no pun intended)

So I decided to do what I typically do when I see a bug.. squash it… However something grabbed my attention… as I began the fierce contest of man against beast, the little Rollie Pollie rolled himself into a protective ball.

How funny that is! Honestly that defensive mechanism is of no use against man!

Irregardless of his actions I could have easily squashed him, and his attempt to survive would have been useless against me

The Rollie Pollie conqueror!



However God began to speak to me, as He often does in the most unique of times… His words were “Look at that bug, and His attempts to survive. What, does he really think he stands a chance? His action is useless… His only hope is GRACE

This small analogy quickened my spirit. It brought me back to the realization that we, despite our best attempts, are nothing without Jesus, His cross, and the grace of God.

Who are we to think that we can in some manner find the favor of God by the merits of our own works?

Do we really think as holy as God is, somehow we can be holy enough to impress Him?

That as glorious as He is, and how marvelous His works are, that we can work in such a manner that God says “Whoa, impressive!”?

No way, we are lost!!! We are without hope!!! We are sinners to blind to know better! In fact the bible states:

Rom 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

Rom 5:10 For if while we were ENEMIES we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

See while we were enemies to God, Jesus died for us, because He was our only hope to be reconciled to God. It was grace that saved us, and grace that keeps us!

(Ephesians 1:7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace

Hello, Rollie Pollie – there is no salvation without the riches of grace!

Rom 5:15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

Rom 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive
the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

“the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness”

The abundance of grace? Wow! Don’t you love that?

How hard we have made the gospel. Isn't it amazing what we do in the name of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! We make up rules, we create standards of holiness, theologies of salvation, steps to righteousness! Are we kidding ourselves? We don’t need new revelations on the Godhead, or baptisms or the varieties of end time doctrines… We need a revelation on the term “the abundance of grace”

The Holy Spirit knew this and He inspired the apostle Paul to write:

(Romans 4:13) For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

(Romans 4:14) For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,

(Romans 4:15) because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

(Romans 4:16) Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

According to grace, not but what I have done, who I know, and the works I perform. The only righteousness that we can attain of any heavenly value is the righteousness that comes through Christ, the kind that hides our life in HIM!

What danger is there in thinking that by our legalism we can attain the favor of God!

(Galatians 1:6) I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

(Galatians 1:7) Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Some assume to have the corner on the market when it comes to the gospel.

Baptismal regeneration

Acts 2:38

Predestination

HA! I see only one gospel mentioned here… The Gospel of Christ, also called the “Grace of Christ” This is the gospel of grace and there is NO OTHER!

Pauls sums it up well

(Galatians 2:20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

(Galatians 2:21) I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Silly Rollie Pollie! Gee… kind of hard to squash him now… So I place the little defenseless guy into my hand, I carry him to a safe place… and grant him the freedom He wants… All he needed to live was grace…

Thanks God for the lesson… I’ll try not to be a silly Rollie Pollie…


The Quest - from Oneness to Trinitarian - Part One


I had a request from my friend, Pastor Bob Beeman, it was this:You should say something about your quest - from oneness to Trinitarian, your personal experiences”

So onward and upward we go. A small tidbit of our journey!

It’s really only been just 10 months or so that all this began. My wife and I were pastoring a small Oneness Pentecostal church. We had just acquired a new building, and God began to do something, His stealthy, yet obvious move, was well evident. That "something", that "move" however was not necessarily an attractive thing from the outside, or in the immediate, but instead this glorious "something", would blossom in the near distant future.

I have found more than once as God journeys us to our needed destination, we at times, must walk through what appears to be “the valley of the shadow of death.” In reality however it is a portal to new life, or a new level of God consciousness! Whatever we label it, it’s an expanding of who we are in Christ, and equally important, who He is in us!

It was December of 2006, when we began to have turbulent times within the assembly we pastored, not so much between us and the congregation.. There were no terrible events transpiring! We were all getting along, but instead, just internal issues that were hard to categorize or define. Not to mention a leading and a pulling in my spirit from the Lord... that something was not quite right. God was moving! His grace was abounding! As I recall the whole experience, I stand amazed at the series of events that occurred simultaneously, seemingly with its own inertia, spinning completely out of my control!

(Psalms 37:23) The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

My wife, Gina, had already told me she did not want to be called “Oneness” anymore, because of so many scriptural red flags. The church was for some reason suddenly ailing, and my very good friend, Pastor Jeff Baker, was calling me, trying to “make a connect” as he stated it, between Gina, myself and his “friend whose a former Oneness Pentecostal , Steve Evans”! With some amount of irritability I exclaimed "GOD, what are you doing?"

Honestly it was all just too much! Gina and I agreed to talk with “former Oneness Pentecostal Steve” who is now simply and affectingly known as: “Steve Evans, our dear friend”(What a great connection it has been!). We also spent many nights, my wife and I, pouring over the Bible, looking at scripture, crying out to God. God’s spirit had already done such a powerful work in us, and around us, that we were ready to hear, learn, and let God move. Our journey from Oneness Pentecostalism to Trinitarianism is evident, we made that journey, in an intellectual and theologically sound manner... However, there were emotional aspects to making that change.

Doctrines of legalism, grip an individual not just spiritually, but emotionally as well...

If ever a time God’s grace and mercy, and faith in His way, is needed, it’s during times of great trial, blessing and certainly during change. Gina and I were in the middle of all three of these! However, God was there, He was alive, and He was leading.

The most remarkable gift is hidden in these events. I could praise the Lord for showing us the doctrine of the Trinity, revealing it to us through His Spirit, and His Word. His anointing us to change, I could praise the Lord for the many new friends we have, that have become so very precious to us, so dear to our hearts, or for the church home we have. For all of these are His blessings at work. However if one thing be evident, true and confirmed, it is this:

(2 Thessalonians 3:3) But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil.

(MSG) Don't be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you," Message Translation

(Matthew 28:20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Faithful

Never letting us down

With us always

The most remarkable gift of God, through His cross, is His abiding presence! Thank you Lord, for walking with my family on this journey! Thank you for your faithfulness, for never letting us down, and lighting our path… even though you do it, only one step at a time… You Jesus are always there!

Legalism the Killer

A famous Apostolic preacher once stated:

“Standards are designed to be your guard rails – to be your barriers”

Legalism is: Imposed or implied extra biblical rules – the commandments of men, mandated in an attempt to earn: salvation, anointing and/or favor with GOD. To attain higher levels of holiness by the adherence conditions/ ordinances and/or standards not biblically based, and the disdain or disfavor of those who do not follow said conditions, ordinances, and standards.

In a nutshell these definitions are definitive of legalism….

Legalism, definition number one: "2 Theology. The doctrine that salvation is gained through good works

(Random House College Dictionary, pg. 765).

Legalism, definition number two: "2. The doctrine of salvation by works, as distinguished from that by grace"

(New Illustrated Webster's Dictionary of the English Language, pg. 559).

Legalism is a killer. Legalism seeks to destroy joy, love, peace and the righteousness of CHRIST. Legalism is the dagger of death in the body of life, and it is truly loathsome: scripturally and the LORD JESUS. It seeks to instill a sense of righteousness or the appearance of righteousness, without really being righteous. In this manner: legalism is very dangerous.

With great veracity legalism seeks and destroys. It shows no mercy (for legalism knows no mercy) on its victims. It gains its stranglehold on its prey and squeezes till all life is gone….

In defining Legalism and what it is or to further illustrate legalism. The shining example of Legalism is the Pharisees.

The Pharisee’s existed in the days of JESUS CHRIST. They were or at least considered themselves the elite in the spiritual horizon of that day. They were the original hard liners, and rule keepers. They remain the picture of legalism.

They were known for insisting that the law of GOD be observed as the scribes interpreted it, and more or at least equally important was their additions to the law, the keeping of their own traditions and time honored customs. They equated these customs and traditions to be as sacred and as powerful as the WORDS OF GOD…

This is one form of legalism

Legalism is imposed or implied extra biblical rules – the commandments of men, mandated in an attempt to earn: salvation, anointing and/or favor with GOD.

To attain higher levels of holiness by the adherence of conditions/ordinances/standards that are not biblically based, and the disdain or disfavor of those who do not follow said conditions, ordinances, and standards.

The Pharisee’s had made the traditions surrounding the law as important as the law itself

(Matthew 15:8) This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

(Matthew 15:9) But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

What the Pharisee’s decided to do was to construct a protective wall around the law, the commandments. To degree greater separation.This wall consisted of many, many additional man made laws. This thinking was that by applying these “guard rails” as they were. They formed a protective covering or “guardrails”, a help that would prevent one from falling into real sin, or breaking the law.

The problem was that as time went on these “guard rails” became just as sacred and pure, and sometimes of more esteem than the actual commandments of GOD.

The warning of Jesus Christ about the tradition of men that makes the WORD OF GOD of none effect (Mark 7:1-13), is in fact, a direct reference to these “guard rails” They are know as the Talmud, or more specifically, the earliest rendition, and the short version was called the Mishnah, which existed in Christ’s time.

These traditions, these thoughts of men became as sacred as the law themselves, and they in essence made the cross of non effect.

. Josephus (famed historian of the time of JESUS CHRIST)tells us that the Pharisees had an obsession with "regulations handed down by former generations and not recorded in the Laws of Moses" (Josephus, Antiq. XIII. x. 6)

Jesus continually referred to the Mishnah as the "tradition of the elders" or the "tradition of men" (Matt 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-23; also see Josephus, Antiq. XIII. xvi. 2). And he condemned the practice strongly…. Perhaps this was the strongest admonition and rebuke that JESUS CHRIST made.

Nelson Illustrated Bible Dictionary states:

At some points during Jewish history traditions and the Talmud had been considered equal to or better than the scripture itself. Jesus encountered such an attitude among the Pharisees. Christians must be careful not to make the same mistake in refard to our own traditions(end quote)

Truer words have not been uttered in regards to Legalism, and the mandate of extra biblical rules for the work of righteousness. It is a false assumption that the WORD OF GOD is not complete and capable for instruction in righteousness.

In fact the bible records these words

(2 Timothy 3:16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

(2 Timothy 3:17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Legalism Thinks It Can Earn It’s Own righteousness

Luk 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Nelson Illustrated Bible Dictionary states:

The Pharisee’s thought they could match GOD’s standards by keeping all the outward rules….. This can easily happen when people think GOD’S will is the same thing as their list of what they can and can’t do…

People who are ensnared in the deception of legalism have the false concept that righteousness is something that is earned. That they can trust in their good works to solidify their relationship with GOD, to become more right in the sight of GOD.

Legalism attests favor with GOD, power with GOD on the basis of personal sacrifices and dead works. One such assumption is “If obedience to the WORD is good, extra sacrifices must be better.”

This however is not true, and it is the same concept held by the Pharisee’s, and we know how JESUS felt about them.

“Why is legalism so dangerous? I mean isn’t it better to be, more, safe? Isn’t it better to be more conservative?” You know “to steer as far away from the line as possible.”

These questions and comments are often asked when discussing legalism, and dead works. They seem harmless enough, almost sensible, but let’s look at why these thought processes are dangerous …..

One translation records Galations in this manner

Galatians 5:4 When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace.

Another example

(Romans 10:3) For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Herein lies the snare – Those who hold a works mentality or a legalistic approach to GOD, have failed to submit themselves, to the righteousness of GOD. To trust in the saving and transforming power of HIS spirit. That is an important statement. I’d like to say it again:

“Those who hold to a works mentality or a legalistic approach to GOD, have failed to submit themselves to the righteousness of GOD.”

This literally means that those in legalism have sought to establish their own kind of righteousness, despite the clear and present teachings of salvation, and the righteousness of GOD in CHRIST JESUS. They have discarded the righteousness of CHRIST, in exchange for the righteousness they can attain by their own performance. At the very least they have in a non-verbal manner assumed the righteousness and instruction of the bible not quite sufficient, thereby in their mind reasonably adding as they assume and see fit.

That is to say, they have not submitted to the righteousness of GOD, and have sought to pursue and maintain their own version of righteousness, which in truth is not righteousness at all!

They have sought their own means of anointing. In some manners it has been said “standards are not a salvation issue, but a power issue.” This again is the creation of fa├žade, an illusion, of righteousness.

(Isaiah 64:6) all our righteous nesses are as filthy rags……

Anointing, salvation and other blessings of GOD are soley based on faith in the gospel and the giver of that Gospel. The WORD OF GOD clearly defines true salvation, anointing and the entrance into God’s presence, favor and salvation, we must therefore pursue it HIS way, through HIS WORD.

Is it a Sin for a woman to wear pants?

The wearing of pants by women, has been an argument within the “United Pentecostal Church, and various other Oneness Pentecostal faiths. Stating pants are a transgression of “gender distinction” on a woman, then support this theory with Deuteronomy 22:5…

It should be first noted this is the only text(Deuteronomy 22:5) they can and do provide.

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God (Deuter­onomy 22:5).

Let us consider a few observations, in the use of this text, and the idea of gender distinction.

To further consider the correct meaning of this verse let us understand the society and the culture it is birthed from….

Bible Manners and Customs by James M. Freeman, page 111

"The distinction between the dress of the sexes being less than with us, there was . greater need of this regulation. There is rea­son to believe that the law was made not merely to preserve decency, but because the heathen were in the habit of pursuing a different course as a part of their idolatrous worship. Maimonides says: "In the books of the idolaters it is commanded that when a man presents himself before the Star of Ve­nus, he shall wear the colored dress of a woman; and when the woman adores the Star of Mars, she shall appear in armour." Pagan idols were frequently represented with the features of one sex and the dress of the other, and_ their worshipers endeavored to be like them. It is not at all unlikely that this custom was as old as the time of Moses, and was a partial reason for the enacting of this law."

We can instantly see from the respected source that this was not an issue with men and women wearing similar forms or appearance, but instead to halt the practice of the idolaters, and the practice of heathen worship, and abominations. Now honestly this is a far cry from a woman wearing a pair of pants.

Ralph Woodrow's book, Women's Adornment, page 12

"The word "man" appears in the book of Deuteronomy about 78 times. It is usually translated from iysh (meaning man, a male) and a few times from adam (meaning man­kind). But in Deuteronomy 22:5 the word

translated "man" is from an entirely different Hebrew word It is geber, meaning a warrior, a soldier. Bearing this in mind, the passage reads as follows: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a soldier, neither shall a soldier put on a woman's garment."

.Adam Clarke, a noted Biblical expositor, has com­mented on this verse as follows:

"...keli geber, the instruments or arms of a man. As the word geber is here used, which properly signifies a man of war, it is very probable that armour is here intended; espe­cially as we know that in the worship of

Venus, to which that of Astarte or Ashtaroth among the Canaanites bore striking resem­blance, the women were accustomed to ap­pear in armour before her. It certainly cannot mean a simple change of dress, whereby the men might pass for women, and vice versa. This would have been impossible in those countries where the dress of the sexes had but little to distinguish it, and where every man wore a long beard."

It is clear and evident with examination that the abomination in Deuteronomy 22:5, was men and women in that present culture worshiping false gods, in the apparel of the opposite sex! Certainly this is an abomination. One can and should easily agree. This being true still does NOTHING to condemn a woman wearing pants.

Were we to look further in the same chapter of Deuteronomy we find several commands

It is stated in the same chapter of Deuteronomy that one could not wear wool and linen together. That they were to make fringes on the four corners of their robes! It also states that when building a home you must make a “battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house” Blood upon thy house? Sounds pretty heavy doesn’t it? Do most saints of GOD know what a “battlement” is? Do you know what a “battlement” is? Most likely not, and very, very few have one built on their home, yet it could bring blood upon your house!

No one teaches any of these commands even though they are amply and equally listed in the same chapter. Yet the proclaim with great vigor that all must adhere to verse 5!! This is not biblically sound and this is certainly poor theology. The truth is the basis of this is sheer legalism.

To force a prejudice, unfounded by scripture.

It might be interesting to note that in the same chapter of the sole verse used to condemn women in pants, contains the word “skirt”! But it is for a MAN!

(Deuteronomy 22:30) A man shall not take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt.

The truth of the matter is the Bible speaks of a "skirt" 12 times and in all 12 cases it is referring to the skirt of a man.

Cultures change and men no longer wear skirts, they wear pants, but in the time the verse was recorded – both men and women wore skirts…. There was no condemnation for this. Now in our culture both men and women wear pants – and there is nothing wrong with that, there is no condemnation for it.

Culture does change and it is not wrong to dress in what is acceptable for the culture you live in, as long as we do not transgress the biblical injunction of modesty. Otherwise we would all have to dress like they did in Bible days! I can think of few men who would not want to do this!

From page 98 of Manners and Customs, comes these observations:

"The difference between the dress of women and men needs to be noted carefully. The dress of women was different in detail rather than in kind. They too wore the tunic and cloak. We may suppose that in every case their dress was a little more elaborate. Doubt­less they wore longer tunics. larger mantles than their menfolk. "

.Reader's Digests Atlas of the Bible, page 16, says the following with respect to the dress:

"In the time of Jesus. Jews of both sexes wore a linen undergarment and a woolen tunic that covered the body from the lower neck to well below the knees."

It would appear that in the days of the bible from a distance it may have been hard to distinguish men and woman apart since they wore very similar clothing. The differentiating factor was the details. This is what identified clothing as men or womens.

Culture changes.

Culture changes. At one time men wore skirts, this is the closest to biblical apparel as a man can get. However with the change of culture men began to wear pants. For some time women wore skirts only, but as culture changed she to began to wear pants also.

With this in mind there is no credible reason to assume the change for men to wear pants was holy, but the change for woman to do so was an abomination! The premise perfumes the air with chavanism.To state that the article of clothing cannot be similar, or it transgresses Deuteronomy 22:5, is not credible when the same chapter describes “the father’s skirt”.

In this time period the articles of clothing were VERY similar.

The majority of women in the culture of the United States predominantly wore only dresses, so at the time period cultural modestly was that pants were only for men, as was voting, working and driving a car. Today, however the opposite is true since the vast majority of women in our culture wear slacks, vote and drive cars, it is not consid­ered to transgress gender distinction. Times change, and so does apparel for men and women. While a woman and a man should seek to identify their gender clearly, we can see that it is fine for a woman to wear pants.

Were we to draw such a stringent standard, based soley upon past preferences, we would have to consider if it is okay for a woman to wear sweaters, how about tennis shoes, socks and boots, or sweat shirts and T shirts, are these not apparel that have a trans-gender appeal? They are! Yet none of the above-mentioned are distinctive to men or women alone. So why do they get the pass? Perhaps because their argument has never been thought out, and was constructed by legalism, and poor thought, then survived through the power of tradition.

Before we end this teaching it is important to make a reference to the argument of “breeches”

Some suggest that because the priest was commanded to wear breeches it is proof that men should wear pants. Noting the seam between the legs. Anyone who is familiar with biblical dress knows the breeches were undergarments and did little for gender distinction. Since they were not typically seen from the outside.

How this “breeches” argument really comes into play is beyond me, I think it is “grasping at straws” The fact remains that both men and women were adorned in robes. From a distance it would have been difficult to tell the two different robes apart. Breeches would have done nothing to distinct the apparel of men verses women. Hence the “breeches “ issue is another failed attempt to anchor a standard that is simply another non-biblical doctrine.

In no manner can it be conceived that women in pants is a sin. To attempt, to act, teach, or think that greater anointing, favor with GOD, salvation itself is more solid for a woman who does not wear pants, is false teaching.

That being said I do think it important for a woman to try to maintain her feminine qualities. This can be easily obtained in pants as well as it can a dress. I only add this because it is not my intention to present a thought that gender distinction is no issue in our society. I think a woman should be feminine and a man masculine. This being true, in no way solidifies any sort of pants standard. As discussed earlier social acceptance of pants on women is prevalent in our society and does not in any way detract from a woman’s femininity.

No pants on women is a standard certainly without Biblical backing. No scriptural precedence can be found, it is mere tradition, and tradition alone.