In this article I want to establish that God indeed promises in Scripture that he would send a message to the generation that would witness the return of Jesus Christ. While it is true that God is no longer adding to the canon of Scripture and all truth that God desires us to know as Christians is in the Bible, it is also true that the Church fell away from the original doctrine of the apostles. Since the Reformation God has been continuously restoring the Church back to the pure Gospel. To put it in another way God is continually unfolding what is already contained within Scripture. Prophecy is not always immediately understood when written or spoken by a prophet or apostle, but as time goes on God reveals it. “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.” Joel 2:25 God promises that he will restore all that was taken away in the years that the devil tearing down the church.
It started with John Hus, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther and on down the line. While each of these leaders sent from God had a glorious truth to proclaim it was not all that Christ was seeking to accomplish. He continued to work as the years went by, each leader was anointed by the Spirit and sent for a specific purpose. So in our generation has there been a leader sent from the Lord to gather together all these truths taught by the various reformers.
In each generation he sends men to stand as a beacon to reveal what God had in mind for that period out of the scriptures. He requires that truth from our mouths. If someone were to hear the message of Martin Luther in his days, “the just shall live by faith” and reject it they would be rejecting the gospel. Even if they continued in the current religion of the day, which was Roman Catholicism. They were rejecting the word. So is it today when God restores more of His truth to his church. If you reject the word of God in this day you are rejecting the Gospel of Christ. Just because something is not mainstream does not make it wrong. John Hus, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther and John Calvin were by no means mainstream Christianity. They were viewed by mainstream Christianity as heretical.
So then what is the message?
As Christians we must follow in the long line of many leaders who have brought more Light on the Scriptures. In each period of time throughout church history various leaders arose starting at the day of Pentecost. There was Paul, Peter, Timothy, Iranaeus, Colomba, Martin of Tours, John Wyclif, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, William Tyndale, John Wesley, Charles Finney, Charles Parham, William Seymour, Charles Price, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts and William Branham. The Reformation period was an important part of bringing the Church out of a period of the dark ages, a time when the true Gospel was not widely known or published. We believe in the Reformation doctrine called “Ecclesia semper reformanda est.” This means that the church must always go through the process of examination and reformation. As time goes on God gave more Light on the Scriptures. This is a process called progressive revelation. Just as God progressively wrote the Scriptures he also gradually restores the correct understanding of those Scriptures.
I would like to give a little background to those who charge us with being a non-Christian cult. Some have said that we are not Trinitarian’s. That is true, in the classic sense of the term, but in fact, do you know the background of our belief? We hold to a view that is very much the same as the viewpoint of the apologists of the 2nd and 3rd Century. There are many theologians in the 20th and 21st Century that have acknowledged that persons is not an adequate expression for the distinctions within God. Trinitarian Theologians Karl Barth and Eberhard Jungel preferred to use the terms “modes of being” in contrast to persons. John S. Whale regarded the Trinity as a “personal unity existing eternally in three eternal modes or functions.”3
Theologian GHW Lampe described the social Trinity as “a…unity of human persons in a social ‘Trinity’ in which three persons in the full psychological sense of persons are bound together in mutual love, implies the existence of three divine consciousness, in other words-three Gods.”1 Keith Ward a philosopher and theologian states, “To admit many centres of awareness in God would split the Divine unacceptably, entailing that none of them are omniscient or omnipotent. The view is indistinguishable from a more robust polytheism, and must be rejected by thoroughgoing monotheists, such as Christians are supposed to be.”2
Our view point is in good company and does not come from those that deny the final authority of Scripture or those who ignorantly follow some supposed leader.
Next, we stand with the apostles in proclaiming that water baptism should be performed in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38). James Hastings, noted Bible scholar writes, “It has been customary to trace the institution of the practice to the Words of Christ in Matthew 28:19, but the authenticity of this passage has been challenged on historical as well as textural grounds. It must be acknowledged that the formula of the threefold name, which is here enjoined, does not appear to have been used by the primitive church, which so far as our information goes, baptized ‘in’ or ‘into’ the Name of Jesus, or Jesus Christ, or the Lord Jesus, without any reference to the Father or the Spirit” (Dictionary of the Bible, p. 88) William Phillips Hall wrote, In this very ancient version (Syriac Peschito Version) which is believed by good authorities (Gwilliam, Boners, and others) to represent a text much older that of the Greek manuscript from which our English Old Testament was largely derived, ‘The Name of the Lord Jesus Messiah or Christ’ appears in all four readings given (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5)” (A Remarkable Discovery, p. 70). I issue a call for the church to return to the biblical formula of baptism.
In conclusion, the message that God is sending to the Church today is a call to return to the original faith. Our churches must continue to reform themselves, coming in further submission to the word of God. Examine yourself and may our churches examine themselves as well. It is the work of God to bring the Church back to the Scriptural truth and away from traditional and assumed theology.
- GHW Lampe, God As Spirit, pg 2222.
- Keith Ward, Rational Theology and the Creativity of God, pg 863.
- J S Whale, Christian Doctrine, pg 116