Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442

(831)-637-1875

Fred R. Coulter, Minister

August 21, 2003

Dear Brethren,

We are now Grandpa and Grandma, along with Andy and Elizabeth Alexander! The day we mailed out the last letter, our daughter gave birth to her firstborn son— Jeremy Coulter Alexander. Chad, now a proud father, was at her side all the way through the birth process. Jeremy was born July 17, 2003 at 7:17 a.m., 6 Ib. 15 oz, 19 inches long. They are very happy new parents! Now the work begins—and time marches on. Jeremy already weighs nearly 8 Ibs.

The last tape mailed, Your Word is the Truth, turned out to be a bad tape. When I recorded the original tape, I did not know that there was a recording problem. It turned out to be too bad to redeem the tape to get an acceptable copy. After the mailing, we discovered that the problem was in the microphone wire connection. I have used this set up for nearly six years without problems, but apparently the wire became frayed on the inside. During the recording, I did not know that when I moved the tape recorder, the microphone wire inside the insulation became disconnected, and we lost the sound. (In Canada, the tape was not mailed out to the brethren.) However, I will redo the sermon in the near future.

We are on schedule to finish the writing and editing of the commentaries for the New Testament project. I have finished all my commentaries, and the only thing that I have left to write is the section on acknowledgements. Gary Staszak will be finished with his commentaries by the middle of September. This means that it will go to press right after the Feast of Tabernacles. We will mail your copies to you as soon as they are completed. As we did with the Passover and Harmony books, we will have these mailed to you by a mailing company that is only a mile from the printer, Thomson Shore. With this arrangement, you will get them far sooner than if they were shipped to us, and we mailed them to you. Please fill out the order form at the end of this letter, indicating how many copies you want to receive, and mail it back to us.

We still have to make a decision regarding the paper for the book. Because it will be nearly 900 pages, we are trying to get a thinner paper. However, typical Bible paper is far too thin and would show the print from the opposite side. Also, it would be unsuitable for marking with a pen or highlighter, as the ink would bleed through. We have looked at various brands of #40, #45 and #50 paper, but none have been satisfactory. (The paper for the Harmony and Passover books was #60.) We hope to have the paper situation resolved soon. Otherwise, we are nearly finished with the project. The full title of the book will be, The New Testament in its Original Order—A Faithful VersionWith Commentary.

This New Testament book is meant to be a study book. Its size will make it very awkward to carry to church. However, we hope to have available, in the near future, a carry-to-church edition with the New Testament only.

For the August 23 Sabbath, I will be attending a special Symposium on the history and preservation of the Bible. I will not be making a tape for that Sabbath, but we will send you a tape of a sermon by Wayne Stenhouse, The Power of GodPower Over Satan, with the next mailing.

With this sermon tape, we will also include a tape on Carlstadt and the Sabbath. Carlstadt was the brain behind Martin Luther and the German Reformation. He left Martin Luther over two main biblical issues. One was the dispute over the Sabbath, as Carlstadt believed in and kept the Sabbath. This brought him into conflict with Luther, who held to Sunday observance. Apparently Carlstadt left Luther about 1520, got married and lived in various places until 1530, when he moved to Basel, Switzerland. Also, in 1530, Luther counseled the princes and magistrates to put down the Anabaptist peasant revolt with the sword. During the years of conflict with Luther, Carlstadt sided with the Anabaptists, who rejected infant baptism (Luther held to infant baptism) and the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Moreover, about half of the Anabaptists were Sabbath keepers, as was Carlstadt. (As you will hear on the tape, Carlstadt had a full understanding of why God gave the Sabbath to mankind, as well as the physical and spiritual benefits of observing of the Sabbath. This shows that when one believes and obeys the Scriptures, God reveals knowledge and understanding. This is true for anyone at any time because God is no respecter of persons.)

The peasants' demands were based on true biblical principles, which, if they had been met, would have averted war; but the demands would have cost the princes a great deal of wealth and peasant labor, which they could not endure:

"At the beginning of the uprising, the Swabian peasants issued a program of their demands, a sort of political and religious creed, consisting of twelve articles. Professing to claim nothing inconsistent with Christianity as a religion of justice, peace and charity, the peasants claim: 1. The right to elect their own pastors (conceded in Zwingli, but not by Luther). 2. Freedom from the small tithe (the great tithe of grain they were willing to pay). 3. The abolition of bond-service, since all men were redeemed by the blood of Christ (but they promised to obey the elected rulers ordained by God, in everything reasonable and Christian). 4. Freedom to hunt and fish. 5. A share in the forests for domestic fuel. 6. Restriction of compulsory service. 7. Payment for extra labor above what the contract requires. 8. Reduction of rents. 9. Cessation of arbitrary punishments. 10. Restoration of the pastures and fields which had been taken from the communes. 11. Abolition of the right of the heriot, by which widows and orphans are deprived of their inheritance. 12. All these demands shall be tested by Scripture; and if not found to agree with it, they are to be withdrawn" (Schaff, The History of the Christian Church, vol. 7, pp. 443-444). Later, the peasants split into various parties, forsaking their original demands, and took up arms so that a full-fledged carnal rebellion ensued.

By this time, the peasant revolt was so widespread throughout Germany that Luther and the Protestants joined forces with the Catholics and warred against the peasants. In one fell swoop the Protestants and Catholics slaughtered the Anabaptists by the thousands: "Confronted with this spreading revolt, the conservative forces of the Empire, Protestant as well as Catholic, mobilized to suppress Anabaptism everywhere [the descendants of those who escaped eventually came to America and are known to this day as Mennonites and Amish]. Luther, who in 1528 had counseled lenience with the new heretics, advised in 1530 'the use of the sword' against them as [they were] 'not only blasphemous [because of Sabbath keeping and rejecting infant baptism]  but highly seditious  [because they revolted]' "  (Will Durant,  The Reformation, 1985, p. 401).

Protestant historian Philip Schaff wrote of Luther's actions:

"When the dark cloud of war rose up all over Germany, and obscured the pure light of the Reformation, Luther dipped his pen in blood, and burst out in a most violent manifesto 'against the rapacious and murderous peasants.' He charged them with doing the Devil's work under pretense of the gospel. He called upon the magistrates to 'stab, kill, and strangle them like mad dogs. He who dies in defense of the government dies a blessed death, and is a true martyr before God. [This declaration was not any different than Roman Catholic doctrine.] A pious Christian should rather suffer a hundred deaths than yield a hair of the demands of the peasants' " (Staff, The History of the Christian Church, vol. 7, p. 446).

The peasant revolt was crushed with a vengeance: "The Peasant's War was a complete failure, and the victory of the princes an inglorious revenge ... the cause of the Reformation suffered irreparable injury, and was made responsible by the Romanists, and even by Erasmus, for all the horrors of the rebellion. The spilt of the nation was widened; the defeated peasantry in Roman Catholic districts forced back into the old church; quiet citizens lost their interest in politics and social reform; every attempt in that direction was frowned down with suspicion. [After the Peasant War concluded] Luther had once for all committed himself against every kind of revolution, and in favor of passive obedience to civil rulers who gladly accepted it, and appealed again and again to Rom. 13:1, as the popes to Matt. 16:18, as if they contained the whole Scripture-teaching on obedience to authority ... the Lutheran Church has ever since been strictly conservative in politics, and indifferent to the progress of civil liberty" (Ibid., p. 448).

Martin Luther's teachings on the grace of God were so depraved that he apparently felt justified in ordering the extermination of thousands of peasants. Many people do not realize what Luther actually taught. In a very little publicized letter, only translated in 2000, he wrote that a person who was saved through the grace of God could not lose salvation, regardless of the degree or intensity of the sins committed. This perverse teaching is clearly expressed in a letter written by Luther: "Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your faith in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where righteousness can exist....No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery a thousand times each day" (Martin Luther, Saemmtliche Schriften, Letter 99, 1 August 1521, translated by Erika Flores in The Wittenberg Project, The Wartburg Segment, as published in Grace and Knowledge, Issue 8, September 2000, Article "Ecclesiasticus: The Wisdom of Ben-Sirach," p. 27).

It is little wonder that Luther detested the Epistle of James. The apostle James made it clear that a Christian must obey the commandments of God: "For if anyone keeps the whole law, but sins in one aspect, he becomes guilty of all. For He Who said, 'You shall not commit adultery,' also said, 'You shall not commit murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but you commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law" (James 2:10-11). This, of course, would have convicted Luther because he had ordered the slaughter of the peasants.

Luther also taught that a Christian needed faith only, and, works were not required. On the other hand, James wrote that a Christian should show his faith by his works: "My brethren, what good does it do, if anyone says that he has faith, and does not have works? Is faith able to save him? Now then, if there be a brother or sister who is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; be warmed and be filled,' and does not give to them the things necessary for the body, what good is it? In the same way also, faith, if it does not have works, is dead, by itself. But someone is going to say, "You have faith, and I have works." My answer is: You prove your faith to me through your works, and I will prove my faith to you through my works. Do you believe that God is one? You do well to believe this. Even the demons believe—and tremble in fear. But are you willing to understand, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac, his own son, upon the altar? Do you not seethat faith was working together with his works, and by works his faith was perfected?" (James 2:14-21).

Furthermore, the Epistle of James would have convicted Luther for his warmongering. James wrote: "What is the cause of quarrels and fightings among you? Is it not mainly from your own lusts that are warring within your members? You lust, and have not; you kill, and are jealous, and are not able to obtain; you fight and quarrel, but still you do not have, because you do not ask. Then you ask, and you do not receive, because you ask with evil motives, that you may consume it on your own lusts. You adulterers and adulteresses, don't you know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever desires to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (James 4:1-4). Luther sided with the princes of this world and ordered them to slaughter the peasants, and hence, Luther made himself an enemy of God. Therefore, it is not surprising that he promulgated such a licentious grace that endorsed a thousand murders a day—otherwise how could his conscience have borne it?

Perhaps this bit of history will give you an insight into Lutheranism and its war against the Anabaptists and Sabbath keepers. Protestants do not like Sabbath keepers because obedience to God's command regarding Sabbath keeping is a witness against them — that their claim to follow the Bible and the Bible alone is not true.

In recent years, the godless agendas of the radical feminists and homosexual organizations—political and religious—have been embraced by the so-called "Christian" religions. At the same time, many Roman Catholic priests have been exposed as pedophiles, sex perverts and homosexuals. Predatory priests stalking innocent children have seduced, defiled and destroyed the lives of untold thousands of boys and girls around the world—all in the name of God. The dirty secret is that these abominable practices have been going on for centuries but only now are being partially exposed. It is impossible to make a corrupt tree produce good fruit!

Another fruit of Christianity without God has manifested itself with a vengeance. The homosexual movement has not only come out of the closet but has declared war on Christianity. In 2003, the Canadian government drafted legislation, yet to be voted on, to give legal status to same sex marriages. Also, in the United States, the state of Vermont has given legal status to homosexual marriages. Finally, on June 26, 2003, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas anti-sodomy law, opening the way to legalize homosexual marriages. This is an attempt to remake the United States of America—the last bastion of Christianity in the world—into the "United States of Sodom and Gomorrah."

The prophet Isaiah prophesied about the fruits of this new inclusive gospel of rebellion against God. His prophecy certainly applies to the United States of America today. Clearly, God warns us that there must either be repentance or destruction: "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.

"Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah" (Isa. 1:1-9, KJV).

In spite of rejecting God the Father and Jesus Christ, this Sodom and Gomorrah generation revels in its Christianity without God and perversely clings to the name of Jesus—a false Jesus. Just as it was with ancient Israel, they have their sacrifices, their prayers and their religious holidays. With their feel good gospel of inclusion and affirmation, they embrace every abomination to God, claiming His approval. But notice God's answer: "Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood" (verses 10-15, KJV).

In order to stave off destruction by the hand of the Lord of hosts, this evil generation must repent and change its ways! God will accept nothing less: "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (verses 16-20, KJV). These words of God, though directed to ancient Israel, apply to any nation at any time down through history. Unfortunately, only the remnant—the few who are truly seeking God and His way—will heed and repent. God will be merciful to the remnant, but the sword of the Lord will devour unrepentant sinners.

Brethren we are entering very difficult times. There is no question that the time is rapidly approaching when Christians, especially those who believe in the return of Jesus Christ, will become enemies of the state. Perhaps they will even ban the Bible from public use because it will be labeled as hate literature. Even now in Canada, a man has been convicted of a hate crime because in a newspaper advertisement he used passages from the Bible to show that homosexuality is a sin against God. This could happen in the United States as well. Remember that Jesus promised, we would be hated by all nations. It doesn't appear that the time is too far away.

Now is the time for us to work while there is still light. Jesus said: "I must work the works of Him Who sent Me while it is still day. When the night comes, no one is able to work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world ... yet a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness will not overtake you. For the one who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become the children of light" (John 9:4-5; 12:35-36).

The apostle Paul also warned us to redeem the time because the days are evil: "For you were once darkness; but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, (Because the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is well pleasing to the Lord; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them; for it is shameful even to mention the things being done by them in secret. But all of these things being exposed by the light are openly revealed. Therefore He says, 'You who are sleeping—wake up, and arise from the dead! And Christ shall shine upon you.' So then, take heed that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as those who are wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:8-16).

Brethren, the fall festival season will be upon us in about a month. To keep the holy days and feasts of God are vital for our spiritual growth, because God's blessing is upon them. When we love God and keep His commandments, especially His feasts, God is pleased. He created these special days as a blessing to receive instruction and encouragement from His Word and to more fully understand His plan and purpose so that we may grow in grace and knowledge. Moreover, it is a tremendous time for fellowship with the brethren.

Thank you for your love and prayers for all the brethren, especially those who need to be healed, raised up and encouraged. Thank you for your continued support in helping to serve the brethren. We hope to see you at one of the Feast sites. May God's love, grace and blessing be upon you in everything.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter

FRC


 

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