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CELESTIAL HARMONY FOR THE TERRESTRIAL HOST
Omitting the Evanescent Extremes
and Taking the Picture from the Book
Ministers Peace to His People, His Body, His Church
Robert E. Donaldson
World Wide Web Witness Inc.
ISBN 0 9757385 8 5
In the course of the years since 1992, when SMR was published, there have been quite a number of areas where harmony for the churches at large is available, but by many swept aside as if by the wild toss of the head of the rampant bull, wanting to impale something if not on one horn, then on the other.
Valuable insights have thus become intolerant extremes, thrust into the atmosphere by a strong neck and will, as a spirit of schism seeks to find its place. Thus, while a harmony not impalable on any dilemma, is looking at us steadily and steadfastly from the word of God, the Bible itself, eyes seem in many averted, cast down or pre-occupied with internal thoughts when the Declaration Divine is of the Lord, written clearly in His word..
This has seemed such a sad and unnecessary loss, that passing by the historical circumstances in which some of these divisions have occurred, perception of the biblical harmony becomes fruitful, and especially so in this present ultimate era before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ: for that divine face will confront all. There is much confrontation with the evil powers in the interim, and those ready to be used as the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a banner when evil rushes in, need to be stably grounded not in party politics, but in biblical truth (Isaiah 59:19).
Yes, at His advent, that of Jesus Christ, coming for and then with His saints, when that time comes, then there is an impaling of the restless spirit of unbelief, and a discarding of the settled traditions, those which men love (Mark 7:7ff.), but in their bullying arrogance, God does not (cf. Isaiah 29). That which comes ? it is an advent of Christ, first to summon His own out of the confused wars of this world, and then to present the final exposure which comes soon afterwards, with light incandescent from which none can hide (II Thessalonians 1). This is the un-oiled confrontation with what to unbelief is the rasping surface of reality (Revelationj 19); but now there is yet time.
Now for a little while (Answers to Questions Ch.5), there is time and need for fresh oil, as His Church labours in the midst of new fires of artificial light, shimmering in their fitfulness, teeming with fretfulness as the abandoned spirit of millions admire their intensity and look for them to expand. The spirit of unbelief surges into the forests of hope, as if ashes were god, and folly were king. Even forms are being increasingly abandoned, power is sought and a way which man will create, impassioned with determination and driven by the fear of hopelessness, because the light is not desired.
Yet the way continues as when godliness had vast acclaim from great nations, and it does not fail because man is failing, deluded in his dynamics and assertive in his delusions.
There is harmony in holiness; but it
is well to seek it NOW. The battle is about to rage world-wide which so far has
been either in Hitler's Germany and Europe, or Stalin's USSR, or Mao's China, or
the occidental Emperor's Japan. It is useless to pretend that the UN is the
hope*1, or 'science' which is only what man
in his limited knowledge and often wild imaginations, can do: it is only one
aspect of this race*2.
This carnal conflagration as the world seeks to mount its own fire, it is not one to blink at ruthlessness, being by now well educated in its follies. Its universal aspirations will seem within the grasp of power before long, and in the interim, the church of Jesus Christ, founded on Him only, the Rock (Psalm 62, I Corinthians 3:10-11, 10:1ff.), does well to be refined; for as Daniel declares many WILL be refined.
Thus, the time is meet for finding and displaying the holy harmonies, not of opposites, but of apposites, not by making room for this and that in someone's ideas, but in following those which the Creator has for millenia presented, His word continuously verified, alone validated and always applicable*3 ; and following them to the Lord Himself (John 5:39ff.), following in Him His will and His directions (Matthew 7:15-21). Moreover, it is time and timely to be simply finding what the Bible says on certain vexed questions. These biblical realities are often in fact placed near the middle of the road of many viewpoints, since erratic impulses often mislead people, yet they are to be found from the text of the word of God itself.
In this respect, often the resolution of fancies is to be found apart from extremes, but not merely so, being rather on a highway of light from the Lord manifest when all of His written word is given its due regard. In this way, the church, His body, though many in associations, yet one in spirit and in truth, though left by myriads now in false spiritual ghettoes (News 122, 82, 121; 44, and Index-Mini), yet may expand in peace and with gathering intensity, overcome as Revelation 1-3 makes so clear is both our mandate and our mission. It is not in gaining wealth or territory, but souls from the fire, lives for His peace, in participating gladly in His kingdom and showing the way in the Lord.
In this volume, we gather and sometimes add to, various treatments of certain often vexed questions, seeking and finding biblical harmony by avoiding traditional impositions, expositions, additions and deletions; and it is our hope and prayer that many will find this helpful in holiness, both in practical action and in the charity of the brotherhood and sisterhood of the saints.
Harmonies are to be found in the end only in holiness since only in the care and conduct of the Creator do ALL of our aspects agreeably to each other and the Lord, co-operate, integrate and present designer-built outcomes. Within the understanding of the word of God, they are similarly found only when ALL the aspects of the word of God are coherently considered, without the dynamic of desire confounding the clarity of the comprehension, or the deviation of 'camps' such as Paul deplores (I Cor. 3), I of this theologian or I of that, rather than all of Christ Himself as source, rock and illuminator, and of His word itself rather than mixed with philosophical camaraderie, as if one introduced ruffians to a formal dinner, or scum to the table. The perfect harmony of all scriptures, one with another is one part of the beauty of the Lord: it is like seeing a face, and when you do, then it is all clear because in the perspective of understanding.
*1 The UN ?
DVA 3 (including the axle of the axis of evil, Darwin, Nietzsche, Hegel, and the violence violators of peace, religious and other),
RDP 10 (the evacuation of justice and the consignment of nations, Israel and the calling of names),
News 152 (more generally)
CELEARTH 13 (the UN and Israel ... and others! broad coverage; and unity moves),
Mystery of Iniquity (the UN and 'morals' as it surges onto humanistic godlessness and intrusive directiveness, the new but un-moral Moses, founded on nothing)
dicta of 'science' ?
When these diverge from the data and reason, they become like anyone else's cultural toy.
'Science' in its dressing gown, telling tales without following scientific method ? Alas yes, it is not uncommon when motivational excesses blind reason to truth, sending causation on holiday unhallowed and dysfunctional (cf. SMR Ch. 3). It is not only here, but often dramatically here that man's dreams and desires drive out the sober considerations of incomparable, indeed matchless performance and necessary reason. No area is immune from such pathology, and all areas must be summarily investigated, none exempt, for the follies of mankind are manifest, multiplied and often found where few would trouble themselves to investigate.
Actual, methodical and consistent science, one aspect of man's mental hardware in action in a world created for it and with it, and so amenable to it, this on the other hand is a a testimony to the Creator, not only because there is such scope for man's knowledge to grow in a world conformed to his mental apparatus, but also because as it grows for example in DNA, there is almost endless attestation of wheels within wheels, new functions for 'junk' DNA arising impressively to cover various contingencies and phases (such as the embryonic). Thus as man grows in perception, what is to be perceived is an ingenuity of design which is not merely breathtaking, but life-giving, literally!
Earth Spasm ... 1, 7,
Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 7,
Cascade ... 3 , Spiritual Refreshings 13, 16,
SMR pp. 140 -151,
Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic 7
Secular Myths or Sacred Truth Ch. 7
*3 Verification and validation alike are unique to the Bible in the whole scope of universal thought and practical action.
Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer
Repent or Perish Ch. 7,
TMR Ch. 5,
SMR Chs. 8-9,
The Pitter-Patter ... Ch. 4.
Various changes, not of major substance, may be
made in the references,
to fit our present purpose.
Chapter I THE INITIAL SIX
From Tender Times for Timely Truth
ISLANDS AND THE MAINLAND
See also What is the Chaff to the Wheat Ch. 1 for some detailed work in this area
Not to be confused with independent churches and the mainline ones
Chapter 2 The Development of 2 Above
ISMS AND SCHISMS
PREDESTINATION AND FREEWILL
More on 2 above, from Tender Times ... Ch. 2
Chapter 3 Further Developments of 2 of Chapter 1
THE BEAUTY OF TRUTH
PREDESTINATION AND FREEWILL
THE SEVENTH HARMONY
GOING BEYOND THE SIX
The 7th island -
Parallel on millenialism
News, Facts and Forecasts 16, Section II
with SMR Appendix A and
THE EIGHTH HARMONY
Led by the Nose, by Desire
or by the Spirit of the Living God
According to HIS WORD
The 8th island -
See also Ch. 7 below, TTT 9.
THE NINTH HARMONY
THAT INTEGRAL VISION
The 9th island -
ISAIAH'S INTEGRAL AND ARRESTING VISION
From Licence for Liberty Excursion,
Christ the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 4,
COMFORT 7 and
Divine Agenda Ch. 5
No Thanks for Angst! ... Ch. 3
THE TENTH HARMONY
The 10th island -
Visible and Invisible Church
'This is what the Lord is saying!' thunders some 'preacher'. He walks among the people, he remonstrates, demonstratively he intimates his mind. Whose mind ? His own. Departing from any discipline from the word of God, he communes and 'finds' these things within him. Contrary to the constrictions of the Bible (for whether you write a letter or God a revelation, there is a certain shall we say, nicety about not having YOUR thoughts put out by someone who does not know them, or someone else's thoughts put out as if they were yours!), he amplifies life to your thoughts, and you hear the thoughts of man in the house of God.
This is nothing new. False prophets disadorned Israel continually and you hear the classic denunciation of their wily wares and presumptuous arrogances in Jeremiah 23 as in Ezekiel 14 and the death penalty prescribed in Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 18:20ff.. The requirements were two: that the 'prophet' who appears false be assessed on two criteria: does he lead you from the living God, whose word is in the Bible ? and does what he declares actually happen!
It is amusing how in the false prophecies of science falsely-so-called (a compartment of knowledge falsely so-called of which Paul speaks in I Timothy 6 cf. Preface *2), the required results do not HAPPEN. The plethora of propaganda often disguises this quite simple fact! (cf. Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 3). Occasionally you behold the ironic splendour of some churchman protesting when naturalism's beloved organic evolution is NOT taught, and so the declivity of the apostate church becomes radical.
This does not affect the true one, except that its ranks thin, whilst its task becomes impelling as in any other epidemic when help is at hand.
The tenth island, then, is exhibited in
Member Notes 27, as here linked,
and its territory is that of the status of Corinthian-style 'prophesyings'.
The word of God is far above these, but they are not excluded; what is excruciating is their charade. We also turn to A Question of Gifts XI.
With these is linked
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 9,
surveying the developing situation biblically, with reference to the contemporary scene.
Then, there are further regions relevant which one may consult:
Visible and Invisible Church is focussed in
A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 14,
while men and women elder questions and the 'dance of life' are presented in
Consideration of the function and derivative beauty, which may be found in the Church abiding in Christ, is to be seen in
Barbs, Arrows and Balms 25,
while meeting the challenge of the spiritual pollution pandemic is reviewed constructively in
Dastardly Dynamics, Delirious Daubs,
Wandering Woes, Bleary Theories and Immovable Faith Ch. 2.
Barbs ... 13 shows a movement in its setting which has spiritual impact for the nation.
THE ELEVENTH HARMONY
The 11th Island
DAY OF REST
Rest is spiritual, has a symbolic and maintenance expression in the day of rest, which also provides for honour to the Lord, in whom the Christian rests, whom to know at more leisure is more important to love than any swain ever found his day with his coming bride!
At first, the day of rest (Exodus 20) came as a terminal celebration, a day in which to rest as the Lord rested from the creation, in which to rejoice in Him, and being restored, serve Him well. Such was appropriate and apt for man made in His image.
When Christ died, the day of rest, as impactively demonstrated on the day of the resurrection, became the day of that resurrection; that is how it was. Failure to realise this is not merely to ignore the rest Christ gave and readily could and would give when and only when present fresh from the dead, rather than absent His body in the tomb, but the time of Thomas' return (John 20) and of Paul's collections (I Cor. 16). Small wonder John in Revelation 1 refers to "the Lord's day", for it is indeed His day, precious beyond words and the testimony of His authenticity for the entire New Covenant (Romans 1:4).
Worse by far however, such failure to honour Him, who is the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2), is to slight instead of honour the God who having far surpassed the creation in the resurrection, since the latter was in His own PERSON, and covered sin, presented rest in His own now completed work, the new cynosure and ground of celebration eternal. God's ways are not up for grabs, and He has instituted the New Covenant rest Himself, by coming into their midst with the grounds of praise and the cause for rest, and repeating the performance precisely on the next Lord's day, where the principles of faith were expounded via Thomas (John 20).
Thus the day of rest, as indelibly and eternally determined for man (Exodus 20), in view of the mode of his creation, a past event and thus unalterable in kind, becomes new in its location, just as the tomb was newly evacuated that all might rest in Him who came through it and from it, to present life and unique grounds for praise for ever to man. This was the creation of life from the dead! and this as a gift to man who believes and receives!
On the other hand, to make rest a sort of party occasion, as in the extreme case reported, where some in Israel made an elevator, where you merely wave your hand to make it act, and this in order to rest the more on the Sabbath: this appears simply to demean what is pre-eminently spiritual. The sabbath (equals rest) is made for man, not vice versa (Mark 2:27); but it IS for man. It is not nothing, it is not to be banditted away, made as if a nought because it is so versatile and lovely. It is not to be celebrated by overturning it or interpreted by nullifying it.
Where beauty and peace proliferate, there the rest day is honoured; and if it is scamped, whether for spurious theological conundrums of disobedience or mere pleasure (Isaiah 58 gives the spiritual emphasis for it), there is mere desecration of equipment, as if you refused to have your car serviced as often as you should, or took it to amateurs without real grounding in mechanics.
Now we are ready to survey the situation in some detail. In this Chapter as below, there are nine components, and references are added beneath these.
On this need of understanding, see
Member Notes, 22-23,
where linked, that is, Endnote 1, for 23) The Day of Rest.
What is the Chaff to the Wheat! Ch. 1
and Biblical Blessings Ch. 12,
That Exuberant Day of Rest.
Also part of this Chapter are:
Barbs, Arrows and Balms 13,
Things Old and New Ch. 8,
On REST PER SE: see also ...
On FINDING REST, see ...
Biblical Blessings Ch. 10,
What is the Wheat to the Chaff Ch. 1
THE TWELFTH HARMONY
The 12th island -
LAW AND GRACE, A THING TO FACE
AND FACING, TO FIND REST
THE FREEDOM OF THE
AND THE GRACIOUS LIBERTIES OF THE LAW OF GOD
God did not
institute a tutor in order that we should be misled,
either as to His holy principles,
as to the grace of the provision
or the gift of eternal life.
In this Chapter are the following 6 elements:
Great Execrations Ch. 9
What is the Chaff to the Wheat Ch. 1
Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 5 -
second of these
is the aspect of friendship with the Divine Lord,
set within sight of law and grace;
and it considers work and grace with James and Paul
as does, DD 5, SMR pp. 525 - 532, TMR 2, Section 2,
TMR 2, Section
(see other refs. there) , esp. pp. 54ff.,
TMR 4, Allegory 7;
SMR Ch.7, pp. 520-532;
TBW Appendix on Faith
See also on the eternal Gospel:
TMR Ch. 3
Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17
THE THIRTEENTH HARMONY
Ecumenism and Ecumania
ECUMENISM AND ECUMANIA
The 13th island -
The case is simple: the Church of Jesus Christ is the one in whom He lives, which reveres His word, seeks His good pleasure, adds nothing to His directives in the scripture to bind upon the people in His name, and is the abiding one which, seeing even He did not produce His OWN doctrine (John 12:48-50), and what became of those who added or differed (Matthew 16:21ff.), obeys and prays (cf. Acts 4, 13), as if it all depended on Christ: which it does. It knows that he who would add is warned in Proverbs 30:6 about becoming a LIAR for his trouble. It does not scurry after men, nor give false reverence to mere man, knowing that even elders, like Peter are anything but Lords! (cf. Matthew 23:8-10, I Peter 5).
Efforts to import some other and alien things into the realm of Christ's body, as if they were churches are vain; this is mere illusion and cancer. When humility also does not stalk with its head raised, but a humble and a contrite heart may be found, resting only in Christ for pardon, strength and peace, in His promises for assurance, on Him by His Spirit (Romans 8:9, Ephesians 3:16), then the church is to be found. It does not assert itself, since Christ is its purpose (cf. Colossians 3:16-17).
It is NOT the extreme which is sacramentalist, either with literal sacraments as saving functions, or its own wisdom as a shrine (cf. Questions and Answers 2 . It is not a church founded on a church!
Nor is it the extreme which is lax, being so sure of itself that it does not really need to trouble itself too much about what is written, for its 5 points or its church stability or its procedure here or there are all that is REALLY needed: so it goes where it is going.
The Church loves, because God is love and He is in them; it lives because Christ lives, and as He declared, Because I live, you will live also (John 14). It knows its destiny, since He is it (Romans 5:1-11, Genesis 15:1ff., Ephesians 1:11), and it goes towards it with fear and trembling: not in craven shrinking (I John 4:17-18, 5:11-12), but in holy alliance with the living God, seeking in love to conform, in power to perform, in grace to be kindly.
The effort to FORCE UNITY where such things are not found is mere misuse, like having prostitutes with much affection, since the affection part is good. It must be one wife, however, in godly alliance; so here, as you see so well in Hosea's massive message, one Christ, the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26), who is coming again (Acts 1:7ff.), after being reserved in heaven until the time comes for the restoration of all things (Acts 3:19-21).
The failure to SEEK unity where it may be found, however, is also to be deplored. Unity comes naturally to what is unified in Christ, and what is not concerned at its absence is as deplorable as what is impassioned to get it by hook or by crook, which is a crooked unity.
Included in this Chapter are the following, with some revision:
Ch. 10a Divine Agenda Ch. 3
Ch. 10b Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8
For special reference also are:
Light ... Ch. 2,
Things Old and New Epilogue,
Joyful Jottings 1,
Gracious Goodness Ch. 4 (ref. Middle East),
Red Alert Ch. 16 (Statism and neo-evangelicalism);
News 100 (lust for many natural unities, love of actual unity,
State efforts to promote disunity in Christian bodies)
On the Militant Assault on Biblical Fidelity,
Belief, as the word of the living God, and the harmony which is to be found by repentance towards Him, not in the repugnance of unrealism:
MM 4, *6
TBW Appendix 3, LIGHT 2,
OPENTOHIM 2, 3;
LORD 3, 8, 9