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The Clarion Herald

    To all of you who have come to share this time of fellowship with us, we offer a hearty, CHRISTIAN WELCOME! Some of you have come from afar --- and at great expense. Others have traveled a lesser distance. But we thank God for each of you, and pray that you may be richly blessed for your effort to be with us on this occasion.
    The fellowship of a Christian home is wonderful. There those of a common flesh are knit together in love, respect and understanding -- each caring for the other.
    The fellowship of a true New Testament Church is glorious. There every loving heart, without pride, recognizes its own vital place in the body; sacrifices individual preferences and prejudices to the common good; and humbly endeavors to become the servant of all. Thru such a body the love, light, power and glory of Christ will freely flow. There is the divinely appointed sphere of genuine Christian development.
    When brethren from scattered churches (of like faith) assemble for "fellowship in the Gospel", as we have met here; it tends to widen
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"...and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48).
    "Now, there you have it", cries the Calvinist. "There is your proof that only those who are already 'ordained' to eternal life can even believe the message of truth"! "No one can be saved unless he is one of those chosen, elected or ordained of God from before the foundation of the world! A person's destiny is SETTLED IN HEAVEN before he is ever born!"
    But, is THAT what the passage REALLY SAID? Let us see.
    The word for "ordained" (in Acts 13:48) is the Greek "tasso". It is used only 8 times in the New Testament (Lk. 7:8; Rom. 13:1; I Cor. 16:15; Acts 13:48; Matt. 28:16; Acts 28:23; 22:10; 15:2). In none of these places is the word used in the sense of an irrevocable, unchangeable "selection", "choice", or "decree" of God.
    One may best determine the sense of a usage by considering its context -- as related to other usages. In the present context Luke sets up a contrast between the reaction of the Jews and the Gentiles toward the Word of "eternal life" that was

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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald

preached to them. With stiffness of neck, hardness of heart, and a history of having already rejected the very "Prince of Life", the Jews were "disposed" (inclined) to REJECT what was being offered them in the name of the crucified Jesus. But the Gentiles had no such history. They knew that something of eternal significance was being offered them for the first time. Knowing the wretchedness of "darkness" and "death", their hearts were "disposed" (inclined) to give attention to the "light" and "life" being offered through God's Dear Son. Empty, hungry, thirsty; yearning for something, or Someone, that could fill and satisfy their need; their hearts were disposed toward the object of "eternal life" that was set before them. Thus, they believed the Word from the heart & were made joyful -- the Holy Spirit flowing into their hearts through the channel of a faith that really worked.

    Where is a single Biblical passage which teaches, or implies, that "eternal life" is something divinely IMPOSED FROM WITHOUT --- apart from a personal understanding, desire and choice on the part of man?
-- Eugene Garner


    There are various ways in which the subject of "eternal life" is set forth in the Word of God. It is represented:
    1. As a PERSON, to be known in experience and fellowship, (John 17:2-3). Sometimes we sing: "Eternal life, eternal joy; He's my Friend!"
    2. As an OBJECT, to be possessed -- to which one must "devote" himself, with diligence, (I Tim. 6:12, 19; John 3:15-16).
    a. In an inchoate form, this may be regarded as a PRESENT POSSESSION of those who believe, (Jn. 3:36; 5:24; 6:47, 54; I Jn. 5:11, 13).
    b. But, as regards its FULLNESS OF EXPERIENCE, it must be considered a FUTURE PROSPECT, (Mk. 10:30; Titus 1:1-2).
    3. As a REWARD of the faith that actively obeys God's Word, (Matt. 19:29; Gal. 6:8; I Tim. 1:16).
    4. As a SPHERE OF BLESSEDNESS into which the saints may enter after the dissolution of this present world system, (Matt. 25:46; Lk. 18:30; Jn. 12:25).
    Whatever single aspect of this great subject one may choose to emphasize, it will NOT set forth the whole truth embodied in the doc-
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    Some years ago this editor wrote to a young brother, who was undergoing some trials in his first pastorate, in an attempt to encourage him to a joyful steadfastness in the way of truth. With regard to that letter this brother recently wrote:
    "This admonition has been a blessing to me more than once and I also have let other preacher brethren read it when I have noted discouragement in their hearts over the condition of the churches which they pastor. I feel that it will be a blessing to pastors who read your paper, if you will print it."
    At his suggestion, and by his furnishing a copy of that letter, the gist of it follows:

"Dear Brother _________:
    To hear complaints against a pastor is no longer shocking to me. I've come to accept it as a part of ministerial life; but that doesn't make it enjoyable. I had rather everyone, among the brethren, loved me as I am sure they should. But brethren have so many sentimental hang-ups that we can never fully understand their thought processes.
    It is often necessary for me to remind myself that a DEAD man cannot be offended, or get his feelings hurt by anything that is said by another. We must learn to keep self on the cross and refuse to be turned aside from the great task to which we have been called. We may not measure up to all the expectations of the brethren (and we dare not attempt to mimic their favorite

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preachers) but we must concern ourselves about being what the Lord wants US to be -- remembering that we are HIS servants. Yes, we are also servants of the brethren, but this is 'FOR JESUS' SAKE'. That does not mean that we should try to satisfy all their fleshly lusts.
    Do NOT allow criticism to destroy your love and care for the brethren. You must also "watch" for the souls of the 'butting sheep' -- the unlovely and critical ones who do not reciprocate your love. In faithfulness and patience you will possess both your own soul and theirs.
    Try to remember that your ministry will be judged as much by your constant attitude in everyday living as by your pulpit pronouncements -- probably more so. Learning to "REJOICE IN THE LORD' (not in the brethren; whether approving or disapproving) will do more than anything else toward enabling you to face your congregation with a holy boldness. His JOY is your STRENGTH!
    A life of unwavering, joyful expectancy in the Lord is a contagious sort of thing. If it is manifested in YOUR life it will begin to "catch on" with the brethren. But DISCOURAGEMENT is even more contagious; don't let ANYONE but the Lord know when you have the 'mulligrubs'. When you get into that condition it is evidence that you have taken your eyes off Him -- for there is NO discouragement in Him. He is always -- ALWAYS faithful!! I preach this to myself, OFTEN!" -- Eugene L. Garner

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our perspective, strengthen our hearts, and deepen our conviction that the hand of God is still at work in the earth today.
    May the richest blessings of our Lord be manifested in these meetings -- to the edification of all who attend, and the eternal glory of His dear name! -- Eugene Garner

ETERNAL LIFE......Continued
trine of "eternal life". Let us, therefore, beware the temptation to over-emphasize one aspect of any great truth to the detriment or corruption of the truth itself! EG

    It is shameful, and dishonoring to the name of Christ, the way brethren sometimes cling so tenaciously to extremely narrow viewpoints -- at opposite poles -- and then begin to "anathematize" each other as "heretics". The Word of God is very "broad" (as are His wisdom and mercy); over-emphasis on ANY aspect of a doctrine tends to distort the whole -- not only of that particular doctrine, but of the whole system of truth.
    This is exactly what happens when one takes the Calvinistic emphasis on -"election", or "limited atonement", and makes a hobby-horse of it. Nothing will deter him from all sorts of twisting and turning, wresting and perverting when that is the only way he can make a passage fit his philosophy.
    I have noted with some degree of amusement, mixed with pity, where one Missionary Baptist pastor and educator, in Illinois, has recently advocated that "regeneration. . .into the kingdom" is necessary BEFORE one CAN repent, believe and "become sons by adoption into God's family".
    Bouncing Lucifer! I wonder, who will try and "top" that one, in the name of "Baptist Doctrine"?? E.G.

Workman of God, oh, lose not heart,
    But learn what God is like!
And, in the darkest battlefield,
    Thou shalt know where to strike.
Oh, blest is he to whom is given
    The instinct that can tell
That God is on the field, when He
    Is most invisible. -- Faber