For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live. – Amos 5:4

*   *   *

I sensed that one of the reasons we were being led out into other denominations (besides our being leavening amongst them) was that we, too, might learn of them – see what they’re doing right as well as wrong. Robert Barclay’s Apology, for instance, was certainly strengthened by his Jesuit and Presbyterian intellectual training.

Just so we don’t try to implement programs or liturgies rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to do its mighty work.

One week I stopped by the Assembly of God to see some people I hadn’t chanced across in some time. Their Sunday night (somehow, “First-day evening” just doesn’t work with the following word) programming is an organizer’s envy – two thousand people in the house or worship, something for everybody from the toddlers through the senior citizens – they even have their own variation on the scouting movement, which meets at that time. Their senior pastor has been speaking on people who knew Jesus, and I have usually found his teaching helpful and instructive. But that night, there were some points I wanted to question him on. As I approached afterward, his manner of treating me blew my eyes wide open – his “down-home, country-boy” manner is exactly that, as long as he’s on stage; but when the performance is over, the other self emerges: the one that relishes those $25 silk ties and $500 Jos. A. Banks’ tailored suits (I recognize the quality and cut). It’s that air of power and wealth, the exact same air I’ve sensed with the biggest editors and many top business executives. And I received the same brush-off. Especially when he knew that I was there to worship God, rather than become a member of his congregation. (No wonder some people like to preach that “God wants to prosper you” or that “He wants His people to have success”)!

*   *   *

They do also believe that the Scriptures are profitable for Doctrine, for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction in Righteousness; that the Man of God may be throughly furnished unto every good Work. But yet still it is in Christ Jesus, whom his People do believe; and he is the Rule by which they live, according to the Example of the Apostle, who saith, The Life that I now live in the Flesh, I live by the Faith of the Son of God. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

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