I have seen the Apostle Paul movie twice and highly recommend it. The timeline is the end of Paul’s life so it involves a lot of conjecture because the Bible does not give us the circumstances of Saint Paul’s demise.
With that said, the movie presents a believable narrative including many Biblical quotes and truths and an accurate historical context.
1) Jesus Christ will change a man’s life
2) We are called to suffer for Christ’s sake
3) It can be difficult to love in the midst of senseless intentional evil
4) Love will overcome evil!
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is a central fact of the movie and declared at least three times!
Unlike the beloved Book of Acts, the movie is slow moving and reflective. Expect to spend a lot of time in a Roman jail cell…in the end, it’s worth it!
Tonight, Cindy and I watched the film, Paul the Apostle, which reveals the suffering of the Christians in Rome under Nero thrown to the lions and used as human torches.
I am thankful that I live under Trump, not Nero. Yet, there are those who would compare Trump to the likes of the Roman tyrant. Americans have no idea of tyranny, nor do American Christians suffer anything compared to the persecutions of the foundational church.
We should be thankful that the Christians “by the power of Jesus resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death,” eventually got the upper hand, when Constantine the Great finally ended the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire with the Edict of Milan in 325 A.D. By the end of the Forth Century Christianity was the official religion of the Empire.
In America we Christians are able to practice and preach our religion in relative peace. Under the Roman Empire pacifism was the only realistic way to conquer the Empire. We live in a country which has a Christian heritage and Christians still have a considerable amount of authority.
The Evangelical Church had enough political clout to elect a Trump, who is willing to speak out for Christ and Christian causes. Pacifism should not be a consideration for us; we need to stay armed to protect and maintain our rights and position. We should be militant and aggressive in standing up for Biblical principles governing our precious institutions.
“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth at it is in Heaven.”
Yesterday, Christendom celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord. But do we really believe that, “He is Risen?”
The pastor of McFarlin UMC encouraged the faithful to go forth and tell someone this week of his Resurrection. Are you planning on reminding anyone this day?
On a cold and cloudy Monday, Brother Jed and Co. will be shining the heat of the Risen Light of the world in the open air at the University of Oklahoma.
If your grandpa died and was buried this past Friday and suddenly rose out of the coffin as you were mourning his passing, would not you have been shouting? Wouldn’t you still be telling everyone today? “Grandpa was dead in his coffin and suddenly rose up to greet us.” You would be proclaiming what happened for the rest of your life.
I fear that today the church will fall back on its normal daily silence concerning Jesus’ Resurrection. If you are not going to tell others, please send your support to The Campus Ministry USA, because we are proclaiming daily the good news even among those who do not want to hear it.
Yesterday, Christendom proclaimed the news among those who believe; we are shouting it from the housetop to those who refuse to believe. We need your help and support.
Today is Holy Thursday when the Church celebrates the Jesus Last Supper with his disciples. When Christians celebrate communion, Jesus taught us to eat of the bread and drink of the cup in remembrance of him.
Roman Catholics and Protestants divide over the issue of the Lord’s Supper. Catholics hold to the doctrine of transubstantiation and Protests consider Communion as symbolic. In the disagreement, I fear both groups miss a crucial point.
Jesus said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you (John 6:53). This verse is often associated with the Lord’s Supper. To eat of his flesh and drink of his blood means we are to partake of his sufferings by boldly standing for Truth and Righteousness, when we do so persecution will come our way. We will come to know him in the fellowship of his suffering.
The ceremonial supper represents our willingness to actually partake of his suffering. Unless, we are entering into his passion, we are not completing his work.
The concept of Christian sacrifice is not essentially ritual or liturgical, but it is practical and ethical. We may eat the Lord’s Supper and yet not eat and drink Christ’s body and blood; we may eat and drink Christ’s body and blood and yet not eat the Lord’s Supper.
During Holy Week let us boldly stand for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ without the gates of our sanctuary buildings.
I have been accused of idolizing President Trump by certain daughters of the Philistines. I answered, but not to their satisfaction, that I honor Trump as the humble servant of the Lord, whom God has raised up to MAGA.
No doubt my FB friends have noticed that I always defend Trump; I do not recall ever writing anything negative. Why should I? His critics are everywhere, even within his own party. The mainstream media and Hollywood oppose everything he says and does. Not only that, but the nags constantly attack his family, including young Barron.
David may have taught his son, Solomon, “The discretion of a man defers his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression (Proverbs 19:11).”
David in his lament of the death of his enemy Saul on the battlefield of Gibeon does not speak of Saul’s many transgressions against God nor remember his murderous intentions and plots against David. Rather than singing of Saul’s multitude offences, David exercises discretion and restraint honoring and highly praising Saul. David understood the principle that “love covers a multitude of sins.”
David shielded Saul from shame in his death, 2 Samuel 1:
“17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:
19 The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!
20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.”
True daughters of Israel understand that by MAGA, President Trump will cloth them in splendor and prosperity. Trump has exalted his own wife, Melania, to the level of a queen and his lovely daughter, Ivanka, to that of a princess. The daughters of the Philistines have rejected the traditional role of women to be queens and princesses. They prefer sackcloth and pant suits to beautiful feminine attire. Contentious females do not understand a man, like Trump, who takes on the traditional role of leader, who is not been feminized, castrated and emasculated.
Trump is the biggest threat to feminism there is; he defeated their champion, Hillary, and they just can’t get over it. The gossipers are determined to destroy his Presidency and to ruin him by desperately digging up long past transgressions, if they cannot find any, no problem, they will make lies against the man. They will then tell it on CNN; they will publish it wherever there are itching ears to hear.
But his fall is not going to happen. I have his back; more importantly God has anointed him. David wisely did not kill Saul when he had the opportunity giving the warning, “Touch not God’s anointed.”
Our lionhearted president is a much stronger man than the vacillating Saul; Trump has extraordinary faith, which enables him to triumph in the midst of great adversity. Both the Donald and David are men after God’s own heart, who aspired to greatness.
Alas, both men had a weakness for exotic women. Ironically, after marriage failures, they both found wise wives, in the case of David, Abigail, and in in the case of Trump, Melania. Our poised and polished First Lady, like Abigail, is a woman of faith mixed with tint of stoicism. Both Abigail and Melania are true mothers of Israel.
My late campus preaching associate, Brother Max Lynch, used the term “young whippersnapper” to refer to fledgling preachers, who were irritatingly overconfident, impertinent and presumptuous.
Brother Max was 13 years older than me; he has been with the Lord for about 15 years. Max was faithful to the end; he had health issues so that the last few years of his campus ministry were limited to passing out his hard-hitting tracts.
Max and I observed over the years numerous open-air preachers come and go. Some started with a bang but ended with a whimper.
Although “whippersnapper” is usually applied to the young, it can be applied to older preachers as well, such as those who want to snap the whip over others with whom they disagree. They see it as their job to police the so-called street preacher community.
Some snap the whip my way for what they perceive as being my short-comings or even sins, especially in regards to my defense of Joel Osteen and what they perceive as my softness concerning Roman Catholicism. They can barely stand my carrying a staff crucifix. I have been rebuked privately and publicly. One old friend even accused me of turning “mellow yellow” in my old age.
The word whippersnapper is not much used anymore. George “Gabby” Hayes, who played the grizzled codger to the leading man in old western films, often uttered the word.
Although the young whippersnappers can be annoying, I am glad that they are preaching outside and calling sinners to repentance and faith. Over the years, I have also seen young whippersnappers become mature and faithful preachers.
I suppose the whippersnappers perceive me as an “old goat.”
I do not know the etymology of “young whippersnapper” but I suppose it originally referred to a young ox-driver or teamster. Working oxen are taught to respond to the signals of the teamster or ox-driver. These signals are given by verbal command and body language, reinforced by a whip, when necessary.
Or perhaps “young whippersnapper” applied initially to young men with too much leisure, who would crack their whips in camp to show off their supposed skills. But when it came to actually driving the oxen, they weren’t as skilled as they thought.
The experienced driver usually does not have to use the whip but drives the ox with verbal commands such as “giddyup” or “whoa.” Whereas the novice often has to snap the whip because he may not really know his oxen, nor do the oxen know him. The young whippersnapper might show off more authority than he actually possessed by cracking his whip.
My great grandfather, Curtis Hatfield, drove the oxen west during the California Gold Rush. He walked beside the oxen as they pulled the wagon. He was a gentle driver.
Recently, I have been a recipient of criticism and calls to repentance from old friends and a number of people whom I know not based upon what they call my “softness” or ‘support” of the Roman Catholic Church.
I was raised in the United Methodist Church and was taught to revere the name John Wesley. When I actually was converted in 1972, I studied the life and teachings of Wesley and he remains one of my primary influences.
Wesley was sometimes accused of being a Papist or a Jesuit by more hard-core Protestants. Wesley wrote a sermon which he called, “The Catholic Spirit,” which today would be comparable to promoting an ecumenical spirit. Wesley sought to find a common ground between Protestants and Catholics.
In Wesley’s “Letter to a Roman Catholic,” he writes one of his more famous quotes, “If we cannot as yet think alike in all things, as least we may love alike.”
What sayest my Roman Catholic friends and what sayest my Protestant friends, does Wesley find a common ground by which we can extend the right hand of fellowship or not?
Remember when Wesley wrote this letter in 1749, the fires between Protestants and Catholics were much hotter than today.
The following is the link to Wesley’s letter:
What should a Protestant’s attitude or relationship be with Roman Catholics? Are we to consider all Catholics as lost and idolaters? The one person outside of the Jesus’ and the apostles, who has most influenced my thinking is Charles G. Finney, who in his Memoirs writes of his revival in Rochester in 1842 (Chapter 26) and some of his results:
“Several of the lawyers that were at this time converted in Rochester gave up their profession and went into the ministry. . . Chancellor Walworth’s son, at that time a young lawyer in Rochester, was another who appeared at the time to be soundly converted. For some reason with which I am not acquainted, he went to Europe and to Rome, and finally became a Roman Catholic priest. He has been for years laboring zealously to promote revivals of religion among them, holding protracted meetings; and, as he told me himself when I met him in England, trying to accomplish in the Roman Catholic church what I was endeavoring to accomplish in the Protestant church. Mr. Walworth seems to be an earnest minister of Christ, given with heart and soul to the salvation of Roman Catholics. How far he agrees with all their views I cannot say. When I was in England he was there and sought me out, and came very affectionately to see me; and we had just as pleasant an interview, so far as I know, as we should have had if we had both been Protestants. He said nothing of his peculiar views, but only that he was laboring among the Roman Catholics to promote revivals of religion among them.”
Notice that Finney did not refer to Mr. Walworth as a “hell bound sinner.” Nor did he say, “if he is truly converted, he will come out of that whore.”
Finney was a wise brother, who earnestly contended for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.
Billy Graham was the leading ecumenist and most successful promoter Christian unity of 20th Century. He did far more for ecumenicism than anything coming out of Vatican II or the National Council of Churches.
The NCC promotes dialogue but the organization has never really reached out to conservative or evangelicals Christian churches. Their dialogue is mostly within the context of mainline denominations, actually, often going beyond Christianity and embracing other religions than Christianity.
On the other hand, Billy reached out to the RCC and mainline Christians to promote the gospel of Christ through mass Crusades, while remaining faith to Jesus being the way, the truth and the life and the only way to the Father.
Granted Graham did make a few out of character statements by going overboard in his zeal for unity for which we give him a pass. His son, Franklin, has checked these aberrations of his father in his old age and weakened state of mind. Franklin, for instance, has boldly warned Christians of the dangers of Islam.
Also, the NCC has promoted the concept of social justice, which is a guise for socialism. The organization stands for liberal political and social positions on feminism, environmentalism, disarmament, capital punishment, etc.; while Billy stayed focused on the simple gospel message of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He counseled both Republican and Democrat presidents.
When I was saved in August of 1972, Billy Graham was still in his prime. One of the first Christian books I read was Peace with God written by Graham, which taught the basic fundamentals of Christianity and the Gospel. The book helped me to understand doctrinally the new birth, which I had experienced at the Burger King in Terre Haute, IN. I usually watched his city-wide crusades with my mother on TV.
His radio program, the Hour of Decision, played Sunday night on the radio. One Sunday night driving home from a small country Assembly of God Church, where I had been a guest speaker, Billy was teaching over the radio on the subject of the Trinity. It was that night that I came to an understanding that Jesus was God manifested in the flesh. Graham’s emphasis on Christianity being a decision, was key to my later acceptance of the teachings of Charles Finney and Moral Government Theology. Sin is a selfish decision; following Jesus is a righteous decision.
A few years after my conversion I was asked to give the testimony at a Billy Graham Crusade conducted by one of his assistant evangelists. As I recall his name was White. Of course, I accepted the invitation. I was first told I would have 10 minutes. A week before the Crusade I received a call that I would only have 5 minutes.
Upon my arrival on the night of the Crusade, I was informed I only had three minutes. Whenever, I am asked to speak, I am careful about not exceeding my allotted time. In this case I was wondering if maybe they were cutting back on my time out of concern for what I might say, since I was already becoming somewhat of a controversial figure around the state. I learned how to testify in a preaching style. I limited my testimony to the three minutes; as I spoke I heard one of the pastors sitting on the platform say to another, “He’s not testifying; he is preaching.” I am not sure whether the pastor meant it in a critical or complementary sense.
Billy’s invitations to accept Christ as Savior were backed by the community choir singing, “Just As I Am,” which became the title of his autobiography, which I also read. Recently, “the whippersnappers” have been attacking me for being ecumenical. Billy Graham had whippersnappers who condemned him for directing those who made a decision in his crusades to return to their church, even if it was Catholic. I fully expect to see Billy in Heaven, whose one plea must be, “Thy blood was shed for me.”
Well done, Billy, carry on Franklin…