Victor clarifies and expounds on Paul’s letter and offers Pam a wide open door to enter and consider the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ, and how she could have much better if she would do so.
Victor wrote to Pam Dewey:
Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ, Pam,
I must confess I am somewhat unsettled by the correspondence between you and my brother and minister in Christ, Paul Cohen.
While I suspect or feel that he may have been somewhat hasty in approaching or confronting you, I do know that you misunderstood his intentions and even his words to you. We both appreciate your website, the great amount of work you have put into it, the responsible research, and the skill and clarity with which you communicate. Quite frankly, I have to admit that you put me to shame with your scholastic skills. I also believe, as I am sure Paul does, that you provide a needful, useful service with your site “isitso,” which we do not doubt, as you say, has helped many see some light in darkness. I commend you for that particular aspect of your work and encourage you to continue with it. We all have our part to play.
You say you checked out our website and red (at least partially) The Baptism of the Holy Spirit. You indicated you disagreed with some words there, and I think I could explain those words in terms you are likely not aware of at this point, which might change your reaction somewhat. However, rather than get into correcting your understanding of what I was saying, I would like for you to tell me, if you would, what you saw in that document that you have experienced and/or with which we can agree.
The reason I ask this, Pam, is because when Paul and I discussed this situation concerning you, we agreed that Paul was not trying to criticize you for what you were doing or where you were at (though it certainly appeared that way) so much as expressing to you, howbeit in awkward manner, that there was more that could be had, as presumptuous as that may have sounded.
Though we are off to a rather shaky start, which you could elect to justify as an end to our brief encounter, I ask you to consider further dialogue. If you can possibly consider that you could teach us something needful and worthwhile, or that we could teach you something worthwhile, I think it would be worth it, don’t you? While I cannot assure you that we are open to learn, especially given the manner of expression you have thus far experienced of us, I do declare that we are indeed open to learn, and not merely open, but eager to do so.
I hope you believe me. I would appreciate the privilege of hearing what you have to say, what you believe, and, perhaps especially, I would like to hear of your spiritual journey in Christ, what some may call your “testimony.” It is in desiring to hear those things that I have asked you to comment on what you see in the aforementioned writing you inspected. I believe it would help us to understand more of you and of your relationship with God in Christ. Would you be willing to do that? I sincerely hope so.
A common earthen vessel with heavenly treasure for all, Lord willing, by the sheer grace of God in Christ Jesus,
Victor’s second letter to Pam, answering her reply (included within):
Pam, greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom we know, serve and worship in spirit and in truth.
I will try to get to the point as directly as possible. Allow me to state introductorily where we now see you, so that you will not have occasion from us to be defensive, or to feel like I am sneaking up on you.
While you know somewhat about the Lord Jesus Christ, and have a taste of His grace (in fact all people do, even unbelievers, to some degree or another), we find it quite evident that you could have much more. My struggle has not been in whether Paul is right or wrong in substance or motive. I know him to be right. My struggle has been with his speed and apparent abruptness at telling you what he has told you with the appearance that he has vaunted himself, seeing you have no evidence visible to you (though visible to us) that you fall short. (Please read my words carefully. They are not chosen to deceive or to avoid you in any way; they are chosen to be accurate and honest).
You will find that I may confront you on some instances of either using your words loosely, or not knowing whereof you speak, though I find you quite capable above many others in expressing yourself accurately for the most part. I hope you don’t take that as flattery. My intention is to be complete and accurate, with credit given where it is due. Only remember that I recognize, as should you, that if we have anything of any value, it is by His grace and nothing else. You do not seem to recognize that fact in some of your writings, giving evidence of your lack of personal knowledge of the Lord, and therefore of experiential knowledge of the difference between our (man’s) righteousness and His. We firmly believe that it is God’s will that you come up from where you are, that where you are is insufficient and unsatisfactory to Him. Two representative examples come to mind to compare to you. One is the example of Aquila and Priscilla with Apollos:
“And a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in the spirit, he spoke and taught the things of the Lord diligently, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. And Aquila and Priscilla heard him, and they took him and expounded to him the way of God more perfectly” (Acts 18:24-26 MKJV).
Another is the example of the Ephesian disciples whom Paul met:
“And it happened in the time Apollos was at Corinth, Paul was passing through the higher parts to Ephesus. And finding certain disciples, he said to them, Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? And they said to him, We did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit is. And he said to them, Then to what were you baptized? And they said, To John’s baptism. And Paul said, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe into Him coming after him, that is, into Jesus Christ. And hearing, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And as Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:1-6 MKJV).
Curiously, those two examples are found very close together.
I will go to a lot of trouble to go through these letters and explain, and I expect that you will not initially be receptive or thankful, but our hope is that with the seed of the Word of God planted, the Truth spoken, the work will commence and progress to fruition, to our mutual joy and to the glory of God.
I began in this dialogue with a concern that perhaps I should not explain to you. We have found that explanations often breed more questions, more doubt, and instead of believing because of explanation, people find more fault. I suppose it is because they were not sincerely interested in the truth in the first place. I know it is not because we are in error. Jesus explained very little to Nicodemus, who too needed to come higher, and was obviously seeking for more. Jesus didn’t appear to explain much to any but His disciples. However, I have been given the go ahead.
I wrote: “Not that it is absolutely necessary, but I would appreciate you granting my requests if possible. I will, however, understand it if you are unwilling to commit yourself to us in those matters until you get your answers and learn more of us. Yes, charlatans and wannabes abound, and that in the Name of Jesus Christ. Yet, I think that if you have opportunity to tell us, whoever we are or whatever we might be, about your personal spiritual odyssey in the Lord Jesus Christ, it would be very good, and not a loss, failure or misjudgment on your part in any way that I can tell.”
You replied: “You’ll have to take my word for it that my understanding from the Lord is that I should wait to hear what you have to say first. You and Paul had an opportunity earlier to establish a rapport of trust and openness. That has been damaged. It needs to be repaired.”
We would not have been reticent in giving you our testimonies. They are published in Our Testimonies on our site. Had the tables been turned, I believe I would have at least granted you comment on the writing, Baptism of the Holy Spirit, if not both requests, the second being my testimony. We have no fear but only zeal in these things. I think you have manifest fear. Call it caution, discretion, or skepticism, but I think it to be at least some defensiveness or fear. Truly, in the Lord, in His power and maturity, Pam, there is nothing to fear. As you well know, it is written:
“The wicked flee when no man pursues; but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1 MKJV).
I wrote: “I must confess I am somewhat unsettled by the correspondence between you and my brother and minister in Christ, Paul Cohen. While I suspect or feel that he may have been somewhat hasty in approaching or confronting you, I do know that you misunderstood his intentions and even his words to you.”
You then said, politely, with a smile, recognized: “Then let’s start back at square one. 🙂 And see if I can get a straightforward answer to some questions. Paul stated in one of his first emails that, even though the ONLY thing he knew ‘in the natural’ about me was the few things he has read that I have written that are posted on the web (which is only one very narrow part of my ministry), he knew for a fact that I am ‘worshipping a historical Christ’ and that I only ‘know Him after the flesh.’”
Must one drink the whole well to determine the quality of the water? Even in the natural, provided I have understanding, I don’t need to hear the whole mind of a person to know his or her mindset, spirit or intent. Are you not already judging us by our few words? The question is whether it is after the appearance, or whether it is righteous judgment.
Furthermore, the Lord said many things to many people, as with Nathanael, and as with the Samaritan woman at the well, for examples, things that He could not possibly know except by the Spirit. How much did HE have to go on “in the natural” in those cases? Very little that I know of. What I do know is that He didn’t need anything of the sort you are asking for.
When one comes to be in the Spirit of God through Christ Jesus, one comes to possess, by nature, those same attributes. Truly, even before Peter had received the Spirit, he manifest that capability by the Spirit, Who was with him, and Who would soon be in him, when confessing that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus told him that he did not know this by natural means, but by the grace of God. There was no way that he could know it by natural means. This is something that you do not indicate to believe, understand, or to have experienced, or you would not have written what is recorded above, or continued to write what follows:
“He has never met me. He knows nothing about 99.990% of my life, during the forty years I have served the Lord. He knows nothing about my daily walk, nothing about my prayer life, nothing about how the Lord communicates with me.”
As Paul said, we know more than you think. Your unbelief tells you we cannot know except by natural means. Such grace and ability is not out of the ordinary at all for one in whom Christ dwells. The big question for you is, “Why would you, who profess to know the Lord rather well, relatively speaking, not readily know that?” You demonstrate the truth and validity of Paul’s words to you just by your counter reasoning.
You write: “You tell me. Clearly. HOW did he think he knew that I only worship an “historical Christ,” and that I only know Him “after the flesh”? Did he have a direct, divine Word from the Lord that stated this to him? Was it a vision? A dream? A verbal communication?”
I think that you ought to see that these questions are already answered. It is by a spiritual knowledge proceeding from a genuine union with the Lord that one can see and know these things. However, we find that people, in their shortfall or darkness, are not able to see the forest for the trees when we clearly declare things. That was the essence of the statement I made, which you drew from the writing, “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” when I was repeating the words John spoke:
“They are of the world, therefore they speak of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us. The one who is not of God does not hear us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:5-6 MKJV).
Therefore, in hopes of drawing people upward, we patiently continue.
You write: “He *seemed* to be saying that the ONLY reason he came to this conclusion is that I did not immediately recognize him as being sent by God.”
That is not accurate. He knew we were coming from the Lord, and told you that you didn’t know, yet there you were presuming to be not only serving Him, and preaching His Name, but now you even speak of an intimate relationship with Him. Paul was not saying that you ought not to try the spirits, or that you ought to immediately recognize us as from the Lord. He was saying that you weren’t even bothering. The reason one would not bother is because one has never had the capacity to do so, or if having had it, the cares of this world have choked away any spiritual reality. As the religious thought to serve God in Jesus’ day in the flesh, not recognizing Him when He appeared, so it has been with you. He comes as a thief, Pam.
Yet I will qualify. If you were in the Spirit, I believe it would not be hard for you to recognize that there was something there of substance that ought to receive serious attention. I do not speak of the introductory letter we sent you, but of Paul’s later words to you. Instead, you became suspicious.
If He does come as a thief (and He does), why do we bother explaining? Are we justifying ourselves? Why care? Why bother? While it is true that we manifest our infirmities in the flesh, with which God has required that we serve Him, we are compelled in spirit, as was Paul in Athens, to preach more extensively to you, apparently for your sake, if not for ours, and especially for His. Jesus was coming as a thief to the Athenians, and to many others. So it is here. You have not recognized that. Why not?
You write: “But even the Apostle Paul commended the Bereans for searching the scriptures to PROVE whether what he said was true. He did not think that his mere presence in a room or his words on a piece of paper (or on a screen, to bring it down to our time) should have immediately convinced them that he was sent from God. Would I have been right in testing the words of Paul the Apostle, but not questioning the words of Paul the Cohen. ;-)…?”
You err in your example. It says:
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11 KJV).
Many misinterpret that passage, and use it in their disposition to resist that which is being said in truth to them. The Bereans were not resisting. First, they believed. They received the word spoken to them. You did not believe Paul. Then they searched in the Scriptures with a positivity of faith, “with all readiness of mind,” or alacrity, confirming, as little children on a treasure hunt who know the treasure is there and only to be found. You reacted with skepticism and suspicion, and not with faith. Your example also is, by interpretation and motivation, one of the flesh and not of the Spirit. Paul was not asking you to “take his word for it,” but he did manage to “flush you out” of your religious position to show your true self.
Pam, hear me: we are not condemning you; Paul was not condemning you; please understand. We speak for and not against you, though what we say is against your position and disposition; you are, however, taking it the wrong way, and thus we are here in this explanation. Is it worth it? I believe very much so. I don’t expect short-term results. Instead, I expect the usual rejection. However, it is all in the Lord’s hands, and He will do what He will. He has given us to speak and to work, and we do so, in faith that He will accomplish that which He purposes in our obedience. We know He will prevail.
You continue: “And the passage I quoted to him from your writings even indicated that the issue was rejecting *the message* that someone brought, because it didn’t line up with scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit … yet Paul had not brought me any message yet. Just a personal admonishment, based, as far as I can tell, on no Biblical criteria at all, that I was ‘worshipping an historical Christ.’”
As I said, he was approaching you to inform you that there was more to be had in the Lord than you presumed or knew. He was offering you more. Yes, even to me it appeared that he was confronting you, and somewhat, as you said, quick to correct, but I have often found, after but a short time, that Paul had what he had, had what he claimed to have, and ultimately it was verified. He had no message but that you needed to recognize, in spite of all your knowledge and accomplishments, that there was more. That ought to be message enough, don’t you think? And don’t you think it could be a very valuable one for those who humbly receive it? Your reaction and lack of perception only confirmed the need and justification for his words and thrust.
You write: “You have noted that I must have misunderstood both his intentions and his words. Let me assure you that I am fully capable of receiving correction from the Lord through the words of others, and have done so many times.”
We will see how ready you really are, if we are not seeing it now, Pam. Consider that perhaps you are being called to a higher plane that has several aspects to it, one of those being brought to a new level of recognition of, and obedience to, the Lord Jesus Christ. Besides, you give yourself away once again. You are quite confident that you can do this or that of your own virtue, not recognizing that your righteousness was that of yet another possibly appropriate comparative example, Job, who thought the same. You trust in your own righteousness, Pam, as did Job. By the time the Lord was through with him, he abhorred himself, repenting in dust and ashes. Our hope and desire is that you will come to know that your righteousness is as filthy menstrual rags, as with all. You just here proudly and unwittingly declare your own righteousness and not His, although you have not been able to see it that way. This also proves your great need, of which we, and not you, are aware. Please listen to us.
You continue: “But *if it was truly from the Lord,* a very *personal* message for me, it is my conviction that the Lord is entirely capable of making sure the messenger both makes sense and is clear in his or her intentions.”
Again, by your own mouth, you manifest your lack of understanding of the ways of God, and of the spiritual need we perceive in you, of which you have been ignorant (not a putdown). There are examples without number of how the Lord comes as a thief, of how He speaks in mysteries, of how He conceals things, even to His beloved prophets and apostles.
In any case, when Paul wrote you, he wasn’t bringing forth a specific word from the Lord. He was discerning your need and introducing you to it, hoping that we would have further opportunity for dialogue, and here we are.
I ask you to read Job 33. I copy it for you right here and now so that you will more readily read it. In this passage, God be glorified, several issues between us are addressed.
One: We address you, as does “the fourth man,” Elihu, address Job:
“However, Job, please hear my speeches, and listen to all my words. Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue has spoken in my mouth, my words shall be from my upright heart, and my lips will clearly speak knowledge. The Spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. If you can, answer me; set yourself in order before me, stand up. Behold, I am toward God even as you are; I also am formed out of the clay. Behold, my terror shall not make you afraid, and my burden shall not be heavy on you. Surely you have spoken in my ears, and I have heard the sound of your words…”
Two: You are defending and justifying yourself, as did Job, not that we are aware of your being chastened as was he in that time:
Elihu continues, “…You said, I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent, and no iniquity is in me; behold, He finds reasons to be against me, He counts me for His enemy; He puts my feet in the stocks; He marks all my paths. Behold, in this you are not right; I will answer you, for God is greater than man. Why do you fight against Him? For He does not give account for any of His matters…”
Three: God does not often necessarily speak as clearly as you declare:
“…For God speaks once, yea, twice, but not one takes notice. In a dream, a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men; while they slumber on the bed; then He opens the ear of men and seals their teaching, so that He may turn man from his act, that He might hide pride from man. He keeps back his soul from the Pit, and his life from perishing by the sword. He is also chastened with pain on his bed, and enduring strife in his bones; so that his life is sick of bread, and his soul desirable food. His flesh wastes away, not seen; and his bones laid bare; they were not seen. Yea, his soul draws near to the Pit, and his life to the dealers of death. If there is a messenger for him, a mediator, one among a thousand, to declare for man his uprightness, then He is gracious to him and says, Deliver him from going down to the Pit; for I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than in vigor; he shall return to the days of his youth; he shall pray to God, and He will be gracious to him; and he shall see His face with joy, for He will restore to man his righteousness. He will observe to men, and say, I have sinned and perverted righteousness; and it was not equally repaid to me, He has redeemed my soul from passing over into the Pit, and my life shall see the light. Lo, all these things God does two or three times with a man, to bring back his soul from the Pit, to be lighted with the light of the living. Hear this, Job, listen to me; be silent and I will speak. If you have anything to say, answer me; speak, for I desire to justify you. If not, listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom” (Job 33:1-33 MKJV).
Those bolded words underlined, we speak to you as well.
You ask: “What went wrong here? Paul *seems* to be claiming almost a *prophetic* role. Perhaps he is immature in operating in this gift, if he truly has been given it? Some of the statements he made to me were outright inaccuracies, and therefore did NOT give evidence to me that he was commissioned by God to bring a message to me.”
Paul is speaking that which is given him of God to see and to speak. Whether he is mature or not in his calling is not the issue here. The answer to your question of what went wrong here is that you are defensive and unreceptive. He can have his faults, as all men do, as all men of the Bible did, but the responsibility of this situation shall not rest with him but with you, Pam.
You say he is guilty of outright inaccuracies, but this is an erroneous deduction from lack of understanding. I find no inaccuracies, except in your interpretations and assumptions of what he was saying. I reread those letters carefully. Clearly, you did not understand what he was saying. For example, it appears you assumed that by “basics,” I in my writing spoke of things such as not celebrating Christmas, and keeping the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. Those are not the “basics” to which I was referring. The Pharisees and Sadducees observed those things, but they still could not hear the Lord’s words. We believed it likely that you kept the weekly Sabbath and did not celebrate Christmas, just by the fact that you had been associated with WWCG. Neither is it a matter of “having some of God’s truth” as you put it, in terms of doctrine. We speak of the spiritual essence, of an uncircumcised heart and ear, Pam, and not of the letter. However, we would be willing to listen to other specifics and consider how we may help to give you understanding, although God must give the grace.
You say: “I have nothing but admiration for the zeal of your friend Paul, but I
believe that zeal to be misdirected in this instance. And it is
understandable that he has confidence in his own calling from God. But he
needs to understand that others may have equal zeal, and have equal
confidence in their OWN calling from God. And merely showing up on their
cyber-doorstep with unsubstantiated claims is not necessarily the way GOD
would have him fulfill his calling.”
This sounds like it is about Paul, but it is not. However, we must try to deal with some misunderstandings at hand, like a housewife who cleans a counter before beginning to prepare a meal.
We know that each person has his or her purpose before God, believer or not. Furthermore, there is much diversity among those who serve God as believers. However, the blood of Christ courses through all believers’ veins, and there is His mind in all who are in His Body. If you are in His Body, then you will understand that your calling is in harmony with the calling of all those in Christ.
From what I see, Pam, you have been serving as others, whose examples I have cited from Scripture, and as they, you are lacking in spiritual essence and understanding. Nevertheless, the Ephesian disciples were known as disciples; they had some understanding, and were not to be discredited. That is how we perceive you. It therefore behooves us to “expound to you the way of God more perfectly.” If you are not able to receive that, then I would have to conclude that I gave you more credit than was coming, or that you are content to remain where you are though you have what you have and could have so much more.
While you may have served faithfully in what you have been given, please do not think that it will be acceptable to remain where you are forever. “He that overcomes unto the end, the same shall be saved.” We must go all the way. We believe that though God does not expect the same work or ministry of each of His servants, He nevertheless does expect that all keep all three feasts, that is, the fulfilment of all three feasts must be the reality in each of us. To this end we minister and speak.
Even of John the Baptist, Jesus said, “Of all men born of women, John is the greatest, but the least in the Kingdom is greater than he.” Jesus said that John was more than a prophet, yet he was not fulfilled, as would be those who were born into the Kingdom. That was not a discredit of John; he was given his mission, and it was fulfilled. In our case, with the Kingdom here, we urge all to enter in as they are required and given.
You write: “I thank you for your kind words about my Field Guide efforts. That site is not up there as some intellectual or academic exercise, to fulfill some personal agenda of my own. It is there by divine commission, and is, in part, a culmination of four decades of blood, sweat and tears. You need to understand, Victor … I DO hear from the Eternal too. Very directly at times.”
That is why I asked you to share your spiritual journey with us, Pam, so that we may more completely understand, as you would have us to do. That is not to say that we do not see amply for what we are saying and doing at present. It is saying that we would like to know and understand you more, for further ministry in both directions. If you are not willing to help us in that which you would like us to have, what can we do?
I must again reiterate that we both appreciate your Field Guide. Yours is one of the few websites with some value, even if it is, as Paul said, “long on what is wrong but short on what is right.” That may sound harsh and arrogant, but it is accurate and fair. Paul was not so much criticizing what you had, but was declaring what you yet could have, which has not been displayed on anything else we have been reading of you, on any of your other sites. I also believe that when you come to that higher place to which we beckon you, you will agree with us. As of now, you do not. I will shed more light on that as we continue in this letter, which seems to be approaching the labor of your “Field Guide.” 🙂
You write: “I also thank you for your kind words attempting reconciliation. I am willing to continue a dialogue, but communication needs to be on an equal footing. Whether Paul believes I am qualified for that position or not. 🙂 If he merely wants to continue lecturing me (or anyone else) from a perceived position of his own spiritual superiority, I find that to be an ineffective way of winning hearts and minds.”
I know that Paul and I both have our infirmities, as do all. However, I think that the issue is not one of our approach so much as your dignity and pride. Why should you allow us to offend you if we are ineffective in approach while you are in earnest for the truth? Why should you allow our weakness to stop or restrict you? Think about it, Pam. Consider the “approach” and opening words of John the Baptist in the third chapter of Luke:
“Then he said to the crowd that came forth to be baptized by him, O generation of vipers! Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones” (Luke 3:7-8 MKJV).
Yet the multitudes came. The proud religious were deterred. They would use any excuse to find fault with the messenger of God, and to absolve themselves of responsibility toward Him, perhaps assuming they were already fulfilling it. “Who is HE to tell us what to do?” What a wretched introduction HE was of the Messiah! But the humble were thankful for John. I think your human and religious pride is standing in the way. “How hardly shall a rich man enter into the Kingdom,” said Jesus.
Pam, you have desired salt with our words. Were you referring to politeness or substance? I used to try to be diplomatic, nice, kind, patient, gentle, understanding, polite, tactful and loving. It went nowhere. If I made friends, I didn’t make them for Christ; I made them for myself. There was little if anything accomplished in their souls. I felt it was a betrayal to Him that called me to walk with Him. Almost always, I failed to make friends even for myself. Frankly, people avoided me. I came to realize that it was not I or my ways that people were rejecting, but the Lord and the truth. Now, though I love, I don’t try to make it evident. I have learned to say what I need to say, and let the chips fall where they may. They tell me I have an “in your face” approach. They tell me I should say, “In my opinion…” rather than, “Here is the way it is.” Pam, if it is not my opinion, why should I lie or pretend? I serve you notice that we are not entitled to our opinions about God. Just today, I was told I was crazy. Pulpits are full of opinions and flippant conjecture about God, the preachers in those pulpits are hirelings in most cases, getting paid a salary to tickle itching ears; I speak the truth, without charge, to my hurt, and I am the crazy one, a deceiver, a false prophet. I know what I know, and say what must be said. When I fail to do so, seeking the praise of man, I know I am wrong, and it has often grieved me.
I get excuses like, “Your letters are too long” (speaking of The Issues of Life), yet they only take about five minutes to read. These same people are known to watch nonsense on TV and send me pages of garbage like www3.telus.net/lordofall, calling it “food for thought.” Yet there are those who have expressed appreciation and are sharing with others. Neither matters, Pam. Praises and curses are not the issue. What matters is that we are faithful to Him Who calls us.
You write: “I can listen very carefully to explanations of the words of scripture offered by others. THAT is the power that Paul had, not merely the power of his position as an Apostle, but the power of the persuasion of God’s Word which will not return to Him void.”
I assure you, and have assured you that Paul Cohen was not at all expecting you to take his word for anything and receiving him simply because he required recognition of his person or calling.
Yet here we go again, Pam. The apostle Paul’s power in preaching was not in his handling of the letter but in his being handled by the Spirit. While your focus appears to be on the Letter of the Author, it needs to be on the Author of the Letter. Jesus was the apostle in Paul, Pam. Paul was Christ’s workmanship, and the Word of Scripture was Christ, active and effectual by His chosen vessel. It was not by any virtue or power on Paul’s part at all. It is no different for any other minister of God. Believe it. Many found no power at all with Paul; they were not at all impressed, because they were not receptive of Jesus Christ, of God, Whom they often professed to love and to worship.
I will point out but two or three statements in your writings, indicating that you are in definite need of spiritual enlightenment and redirection, as Paul discerned.
One – You wrote (or published with approval): “What incredible qualities God must have seen in such a young woman to entrust the rescue of His People to her courage, wisdom, resourcefulness, self-control and faith.”
Pam, I solemnly and kindly tell you that you are in foundational, elementary error here concerning the King, His Kingdom and His ways. What you say is contrary to Christ, to His personal teachings recorded in Scripture, and to the whole Bible, its spirit, meaning and purpose. I tell you kindly that it is antiChrist, although I am persuaded you write it ignorantly. At least I am willing to grant you that benefit of doubt. Don’t get upset on me now; it won’t do. I will tell you why and how it is contrary to God.
The Scriptures are clear on this, that no man is good. The indictment on mankind by the psalmist, and quoted in the third chapter of Romans by Paul includes Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, John the Baptist, and every other man or woman spoken of in Scripture, apart from Jesus Christ, Who was God, including Esther and Mary.
Yes, they were chosen and prepared vessels. Yes, they were found capable, and obedient, but to the praise and glory of God, and not flesh.
As it is written: “But let God be true, and every man a liar; as it is written, ‘That You might be justified in Your sayings, and will overcome when You are judged’” (Romans 3:4 MKJV).
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God” (Romans 3:10-11 MKJV).
As it is written: “And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. Therefore His own arm brought salvation to Him; and His righteousness sustained Him” (Isaiah 59:16 MKJV).
As it is written: “For God has shut up all in unbelief, so that He might show mercy to all” (Romans 11:32 MKJV).
As it is written: “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 MKJV).
That goes for Esther and Mary too.
As it is written: “…according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4 MKJV).
As it is written: “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain …” (John 15:16 MKJV).
Do you not believe, Pam that these words apply to all mankind? I assure you that they do:
“Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their way, and the way of peace they did not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:13-18 MKJV).
If they do apply to all, then Esther and Mary are included, are they not? Or do you subscribe to the Catholic doctrine of “immaculate conception,” declaring that Mary was also born without sin, seeing she was “the Mother of God”?
Jesus describes true faith as that of those who, when having completed their duties obediently, declare, “We are unprofitable servants. We have done only that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10).
Your praise of Esther is not for Esther only, but for all mankind, including yourself. We would all like to be good, holy, great and godly. The problem is that we aspire, in the flesh, to be so in our own right. It doesn’t and can’t happen. When one does not know that in the heart, though one may profess it in doctrine, with the mouth, there is credible evidence of a need for transformation.
Two – This is a similar example in nature, but nevertheless repeats the indication of your focus or perspective. You write: “Just as noted above about Esther, what incredible qualities Mary must have exhibited even as a young woman barely out of girlhood, to be considered mature enough for the responsibility of raising the Messiah!”
We will not argue that these women were not chaste, or that they did not have certain virtues that stood out above that of others. Of that there is no doubt. Paul the apostle said of himself that according to the law, he was blameless (Philippians 3:6), yet he was a rabid murderer, in ignorance, yes, in sincerity, yes, in religious zeal, yes, but a murderer nonetheless, and not of “heathen,” nor of enemies in reality, but of the unthreatening, innocent saints of God, no less. When Abimelech protested to God saying he had integrity, what did God say to him? As it is recorded:
“And God said to him in a dream, Yes, I know that you did this in the sincerity of your heart. I also withheld you from sinning against Me. For therefore I did not allow you to touch her” (Genesis 20:6 MKJV).
The same goes for Mary and Esther, Pam. But you praise them. Rather you ought to praise God for His sovereignty and workmanship in their lives. Whatever qualities you or I or Esther or Moses or Abraham or Deborah or John or Paul or Mary Magdalene or Timothy may have, we are not worthy. The Lamb alone is worthy and very Worthiness, because He and He alone is the righteousness of all. You, in those examples, are not saying that. You fall short.
Pam, you are yet in the flesh, worshiping the historical Christ, as Paul truly said. Why were you reading The Baptism of the Holy Spirit? You need to do so, and pray in all earnestness. I also once thought as you, and spoke as you, and now hang my head in shame at the memory of it, but thankful that He had mercy on me when looking to man instead of to Him.
Do we condemn you? Pam, I think that by now, with a heart desirous of truth, and humility granted, by God’s grace, you will know that I speak for good and not for evil, with understanding and not in foolishness, though many will differ.
Three – You write: “Radio-teacher Chuck Swindoll has done a whole series of programs going through the book verse by verse.”
You, by blood, sweat, and tears, as you say (and I believe you), have developed “isitso,” in which you intelligently, eloquently, and for the most part factually, from what I can tell in our brief observations, present cases against “Guru Wannabees” and false prophets of all kinds. (We note that there is a concentration of present and former WWCG leaders, with various angles, assuming that to be so because it is the background from which you have come.)
While you point out the more glaring false prophets, the ones less evident are more destructive. Your site says nothing of the Pope and the Roman Church. It says nothing of … Billy Graham! It says nothing of so many other false prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers and “brethren.” Why not? Would you be so popular if you were to come out against the powerbrokers of the evangelical and charismatic worlds who are more effective in deceiving the people and keeping them in darkness and bondage than Armstrong or so many of the other charlatans you name on your site? What about Swindoll? Why do you commend him in that you mention his studies and call him teacher?
Take a look at our site and read Diabolical Doctrines, if you have not done so. Would you like to know the most diabolical doctrine of them all, in my estimation? It is the one of God relegating the vast majority of mankind to eternal torment. I know of no other teaching that can be more of a doctrine of devils than that one. Swindoll would not be as acceptable, and as highly esteemed among men as he is, if he did not believe and preach that doctrine. Pam, no true man of God, prepared of God, taught by God, and sent of God will preach that doctrine. That is not to say that false teachers do not preach true doctrines, or that false teachers might not preach good things. It happens all the time. The Pharisees also had right doctrine. What I am saying is that no true man of God will preach such a heinous, hideous, horrific doctrine, representing the Lord as He is not. Those who do not represent Him as He is are false prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers. They can be nice, kind, ethically moral, generous, religious, upright, accurate in the letter on many doctrines, as were the Pharisees on the resurrection, and loving, but they are not ministers of God.
Allow us the time and opportunity, and we will add a hundred more to your list on your Field Guide, people you would not think of adding. We would tell you specifically why they are to be avoided, why they are false prophets and teachers, deceived and deceiving. We would tell you how they promote self-righteousness and breed false confidence in God, based not on grace, which they preach, but on lies and falsehoods. They breed fear, not faith. They promote themselves, and not God. They pass around “Jesus” tapes and CD’s that bring disrepute and contempt, and not worship, to Jesus Christ. Yet, ironically, those promotions accomplish the very opposite of that which their makers profess to intend. Because of some of the basic tenets taught, people can become more afraid of the devil than reverent of God. Many who have fallen victim to these mainline, nominal Christian teachings have become perpetrators, twice the children of Hell than were their progenitors.
Chuck Swindoll and many likeminded and like spirited sell the truth. Do you? True men of God do not. Chuck Swindoll puts his name in lights. True men of God do not. Chuck Swindoll asks for funds. True men of God do not. There are many differences both in doctrine and practice between Chuck Swindoll and true ministers of God. You don’t know that. We know that. We tell you that you are in need. You say we don’t know you. As Paul said, we know more than you think. We know what you don’t know, and because you don’t know that we know, you say that we don’t know.
Having said that, we acknowledge that truths are spoken in it all, and word is out about Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection on behalf of all sinners. Furthermore, God has had His purpose for all these people. It is a sifting process whereby every sojourner, every spiritual pilgrim is tried, trained and prepared for the purposes God has in store. “There must needs by heresies, that those that are approved may be made manifest among you.”
You say: “And I can listen very carefully to communication– and chastisement, and correction, and praise — from my Lord and Savior.”
As Elihu said to Job, so I say to you, Pam: we are in His stead, as His ambassadors, ministering unto the church of God and bringing the truth to the world as He leads and commissions. Inasmuch as you receive us, you receive Him. I do hope you will listen carefully, and not only so, but take to heart and obey.
And: “I do that all the time.”
How many truly come in the Name of the Lord and confront people directly and personally for His sake, by His will, sent by Him? Not many, not many at all.
You write: “What I cannot do is give over my mind unquestioningly to someone who has only his own testimony that God is giving him a message to give to me. There are enough Guru Wannabees out there on the Internet.”
Agreed. As it is written, “try the spirits” and “beware of false prophets.”
You write: “If that is not what you and Paul are, then persuade me with words from the Scriptures that will give evidence of that. And with your own words that are more salted than Paul’s words have been up to this point. 🙂”
I hope you find my words salted yet, because they are, though many take it as pepper. As it is written:
“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15-17 KJV).
However, you again rely on the letter, but the letter kills. The apostle spoke the Living Word, and we speak the Living Word. It is all about the Author of the Bible, to which He is not at all limited. He never was, isn’t now, and never will be. That is an erroneous notion that the majority of evangelicals believe and teach. Nevertheless, I have given you much Scripture, though, more importantly, a personal word from the Author.
Pam, I have always wanted to see results from people to whom I speak, such as, “I am wrong! I believe you! You are right! How could I have been so blind? The Lord opened my eyes and my heart to see and to understand! Thank You, Lord of all, for bringing Victor to me, to teach me, to help me. Victor, teach me. Help me to understand. I receive you as a bona fide teacher of God. Lord, grant me to say, ‘Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord.’”
But I rarely see it, Pam. If I want a following, what I need to do is to teach the blatant lies and falsehoods, as do some of the subjects on your site. People are amazingly ready and willing, yea, more than willing, to jump at the most preposterous lies and swallow them whole, without hesitation; mix in some stupid imaginations, some tomfoolery, perhaps drugs and sex, make some outrageous claims, tell some sensational stories, without proof, and you are believed and followed. More importantly, add flattery, love by the definition the world holds, security and comfort, and you soon have them eating out of your hand.
“Lord, who has believed our report?”
“When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith in the earth?”
Like others have already told me, Pam, “You have the goods, and nobody wants them.”
I may sound like someone with a sickness, a fixation of sorts. If it were not for the fact that I do hear the Voice of the Lord without question, that His directions are confirmed from time to time, that He has revealed Himself to me, that He gives us all visions, dreams and prophecies that come to pass, that He has blessed us and kept us beyond what many could call circumstantial coincidence, that He has given me peace, joy and conviction within, apart from the fact that there are very few with whom to share it, I would be quite prone to suspect myself. My consolation is twofold:
One, I know that I need only obey and do His pleasure rather than mine, and leave the results to Him. I am able to do that.
Two, I know that in the fullness of time, all will come to be saved, to know Him. That is enough. Read our section, The Restitution of All Things.
I bare my heart to you here, Pam. I don’t expect that you will believe us. You may say you do not doubt we are sincere, you may admire our zeal, you may wish us well, you may even, as some do, bless our ministry, but believe who we say we are and what we preach? That is another matter. Again, our consolation is in the Lord, Who sees us through all things. I wouldn’t have it otherwise.
I have written you a long letter, Pam. You decide whether the Lord has been gracious, or if I have been foolish.