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    So ended a letter received recently from one reader of the CLARION HERALD. And, so widespread is the error involved that I felt it would be worthwhile to share my reply with all our readers.
-- the Editor

Dear       ,
    In the matchless name of Jesus Who is-worthy of power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing (Rev. 5:12) -- I will attempt an answer to your recent letter. Even at the risk of being misunderstood (though you DID ask for correction if I thought it was needed), this letter will be written as in the conscious presence of the living Christ, and in the spirit of him who said: "Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful", (Proverbs 27:5-6).
    Though there is a note of sincerity throughout your letter there is also an unmistakable pattern of carnality and self-deception. It is POSSIBLE to be SINCERELY WRONG! Your letter bears indelible marks of a life that is "ego-centric" (self-centered) instead of being "Christ-centered". Fifty - seven

times you refer to YOURSELF ("I", "my" and "me"); only two times do you mention the "Christ" -- and then only indirectly, and in em unscriptural employment of the term "body of Christ".
    It seems quite evident that you have neglected the clear warning of John, the apostle of love, when he wrote: "Beloved, believe NOT every spirit, but TRY (or "test") the spirits whether they are of God: because many FALSE PROPHETS are gone out into the world", (I John 4:1). Nor have you fully heeded the warnings of the apostle Paul: "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ", (2 Cor. 11:3). "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high p1aces", (Eph. 6:12). And it, further, appears that you have ignored the warning of James concerning the "greater condemnation"(or weightier judgment) to be faced by those who assume the role of authoritative teachers, (James 3:1).
    What many people fail to realize is that there are MULTITUDES of

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"spiritual beings" (demons) loose in this world -- all of them servants of Satan, and IMITATORS of the Holy Spirit. Whenever a person despises, or rejects, the wisdom of God's plan to bring His people to maturity --- through the baptism, instruction and discipline of a LOOAL NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH -- he throws himself wide open to their deception. And this is doubly true if that man has set his mind on some kind of super-spiritual (?) EXPERIENCE that others have so highly lauded!
    I will not question for a moment that you may have had such an "experience" as that which you call "the baptism of the Holy Spirit". For you evidently SOUGHT such an experience -- not knowing that Satan is a Master at dealing in "feelings" and "impressions". However, to seek after such an experience is to seek after something that is nowhere commanded of ANYONE in the New Testament; nor is it

specifically promised to ANY INDIVIDUAL!! And the biblical record can NEVER be altered by any "experience" -- however REAL it may seem. And I must emphasize the fact that there is NO MENTION, in all the Word of God, of ANY SPECIFIC INDIVIDUAL having EVER RECEIVED (or experienced) this so-called "baptism" -- apart, of course) from that baptism which came upon the church in Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 2. If you know of any such passage you can surely show it to me; but I am certain there is no such thing in the Word of God.
    Thus, any claim to such an experience: is WITHOUT EITHER PRECEPT OR EXAMPLE, so for as the "Word of God is concerned. It strongly implies that one is listening to "strange voices" -- not to that of the HOLY Spirit promised by the Christ.
    Never have I met a person claiming to have experienced this so-called "baptism of the Holy Spirit" who did not EXALT HIS EXPERIENCE ABOVE THE WORD AND THE CHRIST -- which is surely contrary to the ways of the HOLY Spirit! Furthermore, any experience that is not according to the SPECIFIC promise or command of the New Testament is NOT a CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE -- nor is it of the Holy Spirit. It is a dangerous thing to "go beyond that which is written". To do so, in the name of Christ, is FRAUDULENT! And, unless repented of, it will bring certain judgment and the wrath of God.
    Whoever ignores, despises or refuses to submit his life (as a Christian) under the authority of a

LOCAL NEW TESTAMENT ASSEMBLY (one that functions according to the New Testament order) has no legitimate right to CLAIM the direction of the Holy-Spirit who has made "the church", which is Christ's BODY on earth (Eph. 1:23) his "habitation", or dwelling-place, for this age, (Eph. 2:19-22).
    Whoever rejects the church that my Lord "purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28), OBVIOUSLY does not have "the mind of Christ", (I Cor. 2:16). And such a local assembly is the only thing on the face of this earth that can actually FUNCTION in such a way as to carry out the SPECIFIC COMMANDS of Christ to His body. In God's plan, it is the very "pillar and ground of the TRUTH", (I Tim. 3~15); its influence necessary to the spiritual stability of ALL, in any local community. No so-called "universal church" can, in reality, carry out a SINGIE COMMAND of the Master!
    When one TRULY follows the direction of the HOLY Spirit, he will in brokenness, WILLINGLY SUBMERGE HIS OWNSELF-INTERESTS under the greater (surpassing) interests of the welfare of the local church -- the only on earth where he can function according to the wise plan and purpose of the risen Christ. The HOLY Spirit NEVER lends one to chart a course of rebellious independence -- contrary to the "order" established by Christ.
    Though at this writing I have little knowledge of your past relationship with brethren        and       , in the        area, you will surely find them such as

are READY and capable (by God's grace) to assist you in finding (firm, biblical foundation for your Christian life. And I cannot urge you too strongly to ABANDON your Christ-dishonoring independence -- before these "untested spirits" lead you to ultimate RUIN!
    Only upon your RETURN to the simplicity of the gospel order will it be possible for me to ask God's blessings upon you -- being convinced that you are in error -- however SINCERE you may be, (Matt. 7:21-27; 2 John 10-11).
    But, you may be assured of my love and earnest prayers -- for Jesus' sake.
Sincerely, because of Him,
Eugene L. Garner


    Jesus had just denounced the "scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites" for "devouring widows houses" and for a pretense making long prayers -- designed to advertise their piety. Then He "sat over against the Treasury and beheld HOW the people cast money into the Treasury", (Mk. 12:4l).
    The rich made themselves conspicuous -- casting in handfuls of coins. Theirs is an example of how NOT to give, (Matt. 6:1-4). Acceptable giving must spring from glad and willing hearts that overflow with love and gratitude for God's abounding mercies, (Exodus 25:2; I Chron. 29:9; Prov. 3:9; 11:24-25; I Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8:12; 9:6-8; Gal. 6:6-8; Psa. 116:1-5, 12-l4).
    In the midst of the throng (and the Temple court could easily

accommodate 15,000 worshippers at once) Jesus observed a lonely woman--clothed in the garb of mourning and widowhood. She did not desire the attention of anyone. Her gift consisted of the smallest amount the laws of the time would permit. It was ALL THAT SHE HAD. But, her vision of God, her faith in God and love for God demanded that she devote it to Him. In spite of her loneliness and poverty she believed in the God of her fathers, and in her relationship to Him. This she expressed by casting her gift into the Treasury.
Jesus, calling His disciples to Himself, appraised the relative values of the contributions. The totality of those gifts were weighed in the balances of divine judgment. On one side He placed the "two mites" of the poor widow; on the other all the other gifts cast into the Treasury that day. The startling evaluation of the Son of Man was that, in the currency that counts for eternity, she had "cast in MORE THAN THEY ALL!"
    The reason for this evaluation was that "they" had cast in of their ABUNDANCE -- superfluity, overflow, something they would not miss. It was not costly. It was but a formal gesture, ritual observance, the proper thing to do. But the widow had cast in "a11 her living". This symbol of her total commitment to God was a sweet savor to our Lord, (Heb. 13:15-16).
   Are WE conscious that our Lord still watches the Treasury -- observing HOW WE GIVE, and appraising each gift according to the attitude of our hearts? Can we afford to devote LESS than the totality of our lives and possessions to Him Who has given His all for us?


    It would be a real blessing to hear from each of our readers during the next month. This is the only way we have of knowing how this ministry is being received. The forces of evil make it increasingly difficult to continue.
    THANKS to those who have already written, and for the liberality of your support! GOD BLESS YOU! --E.G.