SERIOUSLY BORN AGAIN

BY APOSTLE RICHARD WRIGHT


JOHN 3:1-21

As we look at the Church today, we might rightly wonder why christians are so divided among themselves and why so many different denominations all claiming that they are the true Church. Most christians do not believe that the bible is the Word of God for today or that it is even the guidelines to follow in establishing a church. When asked about these kinds of things, we hear a most popular answer (or excuse) and that is: “That is not for today”.

Perhaps they believe that the bible is outdated. This kind of christian would lead me to believe that perhaps christianity is not for today or just simply the fact that many do not take their walk with the Lord seriously. If you take your christianity seriously, you would live your life as though there really will be a judgment day for all mankind.

As with any problem we are attempting to solve, we should go to the root of the problem and begin studying with the goal of learning the truth, which will in turn literally and seriously set us free.

I will begin by looking at a biblical example of how Jesus answered this kind of question. To do that we should turn to John chapter 3 and read the whole chapter, then begin to look from verse to verse to rightly divide the Word of God. (2 Timothy 2:15)

See John 3:1-21 before proceeding.

One night, Jesus was approached by a Pharisee named Nicodemus. He approached Jesus at night so as not to be seen by his friends who knew him as a Pharisee (they didn’t believe Jesus was from God). The principles of the Pharisees and the peculiarities of their sect were directly contrary to the spirit of christianity, yet there were some in whom even those high thoughts were cast down and brought into obedience to Christ. The grace of Christ is able to subdue the greatest opposition.

Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews, a member of the great sanhedrim, a senator, a counsellor, a man of authority in Jerusalem. Even though Nicodemus was a scholar, he did not want to discuss religious doctrine with Jesus. He was intrigued by the fact that Jesus was performing miracles and in His mind Jesus must be from God. Jesus immediately responded to him with a simple and very bold (for that day) statement about the only way to God: “UNLESS A MAN BE BORN AGAIN…”

The passage of scripture we see in John 3:1-21 is the very foundation of the christian life. All christians can quote Jesus here where He says, “unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”. But do we have a thorough understanding of this simple foundational truth? I am not sure that we do. Even many learned bible scholars do not seem to have the ability to adequately explain this experience. If all of christianity understood this “born again” experience, the Church would be a totally different people than we see today.

Another translation of this phrase is “born from above”. Nicodemus still did not understand even with all his learning, as we see in verse 4. He was attempting to understand what Jesus said by using natural or fleshly understanding that he learned in all of his religious schooling. This is the root problem with religion today. Man attempts to understand and explain the deep things of God by using their brain instead of by their spirit. This whole conversation in this passage is spiritual and is not intended to be understood by religious scholarship.

Now let’s look at the rest of the conversation. Jesus tells him that unless he is born again, that he cannot “see” the kingdom of God. Nicodemus then answers Jesus with a question sparked by his natural, earthly understanding and Jesus then comes back to him with another statement to help his understanding. Jesus then says, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”.
SERIOUSLY, this passage must take on the simple meaning that Jesus was attempting to get across to Nicodemus. For the past 40 years, the only explanation to this passage I have ever read or heard is: “Born of water is water baptism” and “born of the spirit is being baptized in the Holy Spirit”. When you read this in it’s entirety and in light of the rest of scripture, you will find that Jesus is speaking of being born from above…being born of the Spirit…becoming a spiritual person who uses spiritual understanding to explain spiritual things. Things of the Spirit are “birthed” in you. This is much more than merely speaking in tongues. Receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues does not in itself give you spiritual understanding.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. When you receive Christ, you don’t just receive something, YOU BECOME SOMETHING!

Nicodemus was curious because he had seen Jesus perform a miracle and there could certainly be no miracles apart from the God Nicodemus served. But he had a problem in the fact that Jesus could not be the Messiah because it was not yet time. He could not be the Messiah because He did not fit the description that was held by the religious spirit of his day.

This kind of thinking still abounds today. Many seem to be waiting around for a God who would fit their description of God. A God who would do things their way and even have a church that would fit their description of what a church should be. Many are even rewriting scripture in order to be able to tell folks that they believe in the bible.

Jesus had the only answer for Nicodemus and the answer would still be the same today. John 3, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. This would be the answer today to the person who questions God’s ways or God’s Word. Just look at this simple answer, “unless”, “unless”, this is a word that implies that there is no other way to see the Kingdom. No amount of rewriting, or of reinterpreting, will allow someone to see the Kingdom of God. Your walk with God is all about having a SERIOUS experience with Jesus.

Now, I must deal with a common phrase that most seem to know but can’t seem to grasp. I will deal for some length on the subject of being “born again” before we can go on with this writing just as we can go on with our christian life. The common rebuttal to my statement is “I understand being born again because it only means that I have accepted Christ as my savior”. This is a misunderstanding which becomes obvious when we look at the condition of the Church today.

John 3:4: Just like Nicodemus, if we cannot seriously grasp the meaning of “born again”, we will continue to have questions unanswered throughout our life.

Now in verse 5, we see Jesus upping the standard for christianity. (you are aware that there are standards for the privilege of calling yourself “christian”?) Let me spell this out very clearly and very seriously because they are the words of Jesus…“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” That seems extremely plain and simple to me, so I don’t know what the problem is within the Church and why we are so divided.

Jesus is speaking here of the kingdom of God, which is simply “where God reigns supreme”.

Now verse 6 is a very bold statement and is so simple that I have a problem understanding why it is so misunderstood or perhaps ignored.

Born of water is speaking of our natural birth and born of the Spirit (notice this is capitalized) is being “born from above”…it is a spiritual experience that changes us into a spiritual being.

Jesus was explaining to Nicodemus, “first the natural, then the spiritual” (1 Corinthians 15:46) In simple terms, you are born in the natural and then when you seriously accept Christ you are born “again” in a spiritual birth. You are born and then you are born again. This passage of scripture is not speaking of baptisms, it is speaking of births that produce life. When we have experienced a true spiritual birth we enter into a new realm, we actually “become” (2 Corinthians 5:17) a new creature.

Becoming a true “Spirit filled” believer opens many new doors and clarifies many things…

1. We have guaranteed access to the kingdom of God.
2. We receive all seven spirits of God to become truly Spirit filled.
3. We can then combine spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. (1 Corinthians 2:13)
4. We can now understand the things of the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
5. Our understanding of scripture is opened to understand the depths of God because the Word of God is spiritual, the parables of Christ are spiritual and it is the intention of all christianity to live and walk by the Spirit.
6. The Church would finally be in true unity if we were in spiritual unity, for there is one body and one Spirit just as we were called. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesans 4:3-6)
7. And finally, we will know what it means to truly worship in the Spirit. God is spirit and those who worship Him MUST worship Him in spirit and truth. This means you must first be born from above…born of the Spirit…become a spiritual christian. (John 4:24)

This only works if we are all living and moving in the Spirit because we are truly spiritual people, otherwise we are only religious people doing the works of religious man.

Are you having difficulty understanding scripture?
Are you having a problem entering into deep spiritual worship?
Do you have difficulty believing at certain times?
Do you have difficulty entering into spiritual discussions?
Do you have difficulty hearing from the Spirit of God?

It could mean that you need to get back into your prayer closet and talk to Jesus about your born again experience. Was it a radically serious experience and if not, it Is time to ask Him again to be your absolute Lord and Master. It is time to ask Him to hold a spiritual mirror in front of you so that you may see the areas in your life that need to change so that you can receive all He has for you.

Quite often, when we are leading someone to the Lord, we forget the part about the necessity of repenting from our sin. Without true repentance, there can be no true born again experience.

When we attempt to bring our old habits with us into our new life, we do nothing but degrade our born from above experience and produce a compromising church, a worldly, divided church.

The Church must preach an uncompromised gospel…a message of repentance and denouncing of our past connections with sin and false religions…we must first get the sin purged from our lives in order to become a true spiritual believer.

WE MUST SEE “BORN AGAIN” AS BEING “BORN FROM ABOVE”! We must realize the seriousness of our foundation in Christ, that it be as He teaches and ONLY as He teaches still today.

Picture this: A church where everyone is serving and worshipping in the Spirit…A church where flesh is dead and all self-centeredness is absent…A church where there is no gossip and everyone comes together full of Holy Spirit and love of Christ for one another.

Ideally, if all were truly born of the Spirit, there would be no divisions, no denominations and that would mean that there is only one Church. This Church would change the world because we would all work together, powered by the Spirit of God and patterned after the pattern Jesus set for His Church after He made the statement in Matthew 16, “I will build My Church”. Spiritual unity would mean that for once, all christians follow the word of God as their Church doctrine.

This is available to all mankind. All can be truly born again, born from above, understanding spiritual things, understanding the Word of God and understanding each other…diligently seek the Lord for this true born-again experience even though you have been “saved” for many years. Keep on seeking, keep on knocking, keep on asking until we are all truly one in the Spirit.

“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism”. Ephesians 4:1-5

















HOW TO RECOGNIZE A TRUE APOSTLE

I have had quite a few inquiries this past year from people asking the same questions: “How do you recognize a true apostle”, or even “how did you know you were called to be an apostle?”.

This question has actually been asked since the days of the first apostles.  If you will read the entire chapter of 2 Corinthians 11, you will see Paul defending his apostleship. You will also notice he speaks of the many things he experienced (even though he was a very powerful true apostle), among them being false apostles and false brethren.

I could write this entire letter based upon this one chapter in the Bible, but you will also find in reading scripture that all through the book of Acts, he was constantly defending himself and his beliefs. In Acts 23:1-3, you can even see Paul ordered to be stricken in the mouth by the high priest Ananias.

Many in the Church today seem to think that calling yourself an apostle is a prideful thing, but as Paul said, the apostles are the least of all. The Church today has had a large dose of false ministries and as Jesus told us, the first thing we must develop in the last days is discernment.  There is much deception today, not only in the Church, but in government as well and this is why God’s people must develop spiritual discernment. Quite often, I see good people throwing out a truth because of someone abusing it.

There is both good and bad material available today concerning not only apostles but all five-fold ministries. Everything must be weighed against scripture, but even scripture does not give us a set of guidelines to measure a person for their office. If you will notice Paul’s writings, the only guidelines are a person who has developed the character attributes of Jesus.  

My apostleship has been attacked by many, including well-known ministries such as Jimmy Swaggart. One person even wanted me to show him a miracle to prove my apostleship.
 
This may come across with a wrong attitude, but I don’t really care if you believe I am an apostle or not because I know I am serving Jesus in the ministry He personally called me to. I don’t care what you call me because I am not an apostle to everyone and am secure in my knowledge of Jesus and my exact function in the Body of Christ.

Now I will begin to answer the question: “How do you know you are called to be an apostle and how do you recognize apostles”?

I had a very intimate encounter with Jesus while in prayer and received my calling.  Even though it was real to me, it still took me some time to pray about it and look for confirmation because I knew what challenges it would present (and still does).

So I continued to be a pastor (which is widely accepted) while I continued to preach apostolic messages. Not long after that, some prophets I knew and one I didn’t know called me out and said I was called to be a prophet. I served the Lord as a prophet for a number of years, but continued to preach apostolic messages.

Then I began to receive words that people recognized the apostolic call on my life. While attending a prophetic conference as a prophet, I had hands laid upon me by a prophetic presbytery led by Prophet Bill Hamon and he prophesied the “apostolic father” ministry. That was confirmation to me. Then the final confirmation came through a dear minister friend who has been with me for (at that time) twenty years. He came up to me and asked if he could share something with me that the Lord had shown him and I said yes. He said, “as long as I continue to call you pastor or prophet, by my words I am binding you to something you are not”. I have been fully flowing in the ministry gift of Jesus of apostle ever since because that last confirmation set me free from the pressure of rejection by religious people.

Yes, I have seen blind eyes opened under the laying on of my hands and yes, I have seen the dead raised (which really angered a priest who had given the last rites of the Catholic church to him). But these are things that any truly Spirit-filled christian can do, so that alone does not qualify me to be an apostle. It is what the religious church seems to demand (sounds like the scribes and pharisees, doesn’t it?).

I am going to tell you how I judge a true apostolic calling on a ministry.

1. I judge him or her by their spirit. I have taken a long time and tested many spirits in order to learn to judge a person not by their flesh (by what they say they are), but by their spirit. This does not mean that I have not made any mistakes, but more often than not it gets me in trouble with other ministers when I contradict their lack of discernment (sounds prideful but isn’t if you understand walking in the Spirit).

2. I judge them by what comes out of their mouth, their message and above all, their character. The apostolic message shows deep concern for the Church, that the Church be conformed to the image of Christ and that the Church follow the biblical pattern that Jesus taught His disciples after He made the well known statement, “I will build My Church”. The apostolic message is governmental in nature and therefore speaks much about proper structure and proper relationships. Today’s true apostolic message demands that the Church follow the foundational pattern that was set by the apostles of the Lamb. I see many ministries today that do not measure up to the biblical (actually the apostolic) standard of character required for elders listed in scripture. Remember, Jesus’ pattern was to build the man before the ministry.

3. Titus 1:4-5 says, “To  Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint  elders in every city as I directed you.” When reading the rest of the chapter, you can see that Paul insisted the elders appointed by the apostles be judged by a standard of character. If this biblical principal was applied to ministry today, we would not see all the damage we see happening in the churches. Character is most important to me because it was and is important to Jesus and His apostles. When reading Matthew 5, 6, 7 and 8, you will see that Jesus started training His apostles in the area of their character before ever giving them any anointing to minister. He even taught His apostles how to recognize a false prophet. In Matthew 7:15, He taught them not to look at the outward appearance, but that what made the prophet false was his inward character. In other words, “judge the prophet separately from the prophecy”.

4. Lastly, the proof of any apostleship is in the lives of the people who follow the apostle. See 1 Corinthians 9:1-2,  “Am I not  free? Am I not an  apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.”

There are many true, great ministries today and many of those are constantly defending their calling by answering religious people who do not understand spiritual things. They tend to judge the Church and ministries by fleshly knowledge and understanding. Some true ministries have even given up and laid down their callings due to the cruelty of a lot of “spirit-filled” christians who demand their way and not God’s. If you are reading this and are called of the Lord, my plea to you is to not compromise and give people what they want. Jesus never did, nor should we. The crowds left Jesus when He stopped entertaining them with His miracles and began challenging them with words like, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me (Matthew 16:24)”. Serve God in your spirit as did the apostle Paul.

Apostle Paul is my hero because of all he experienced but never gave in or gave up. Therefore I will follow my hero by never, never giving up, no matter what kind of religious spirit attacks or challenges the calling on my life. A true apostle is an overcomer and I am promised everything because I find in the book of Revelation that everything is given to “him who overcomes”.

Richard to most,
Apostle Richard to some,
Dad to a few

WHEN A CHEVY WAS A CHEVY

This letter may seem harsh to some, but this is what apostles do because they care for the condition of the Church and are always watching out for the welfare of the sheep. We no longer have time to write letters that coddle or tickle ears, but simply tell the truth.

I can remember when I was a young man that when you spoke of a Chevy, you were talking about one kind of car. Today, there are nine different kinds of Chevys and there are six different kinds of Fords. So when someone talks about owning a Chevy, you have to ask, “What kind of Chevy? What model is it”?

You may think this is a strange apostolic letter, but it was birthed out of a telephone conversation that I was having with a customer service representative. I was asked if I was calling from a private residence and I said, “I am calling from a church”. The response to me was, “What kind of church?” I immediately said that it is a christian church and then I was asked, “What kind?” My response was, “There is only one kind of christian if you believe the bible and not a man-made doctrine”. This did not set well with my customer representative and he changed the subject.

Why is it that we have to ask, “What kind?” when we meet someone who says they are a christian? What is wrong with us that so totally divides us and causes us to reject any attempt at total unity? Oh yes, we do come together on great occasions in an attempt to appear as one, but we never see the results that should come because we don’t like to discuss doctrinal differences and dismiss them with excuses we call grace.

When we receive Christ, we become new creatures. We now live and celebrate a new kind of culture. It is called “kingdom culture”. We are children of the King of Kings and celebrate His goodness together following only one doctrine...KINGDOM DOCTRINE. This is the doctrine of the Bible, this is the doctrine of the early apostles and this is the doctrine of Christ!

We just can’t seem to agree that the Bible is for today and that it is given to us as a pattern for our life. Jesus said in Matthew 16, “I will build MY church” and taught His disciples what He meant by “church”. Today we are split by disagreements as to whether the gifts are still for today, we argue about whether there can ever be more than twelve apostles, we argue as to whether a woman can speak or hold authority in the Church.

What kind of Chevy are you? “I’m the stripped-down compact kind, the kind that operates on three-fold ministry and believes in the 5% tithe and 10 minute sermonettes.” We don’t preach about sin because it makes people uncomfortable and the last thing we want to do is offend anyone. We don’t say anything that could get us in trouble with the government because the ACLU might take us to court. We don’t have apostles and prophets in our church because our denomination says that they are not for today.

I have noticed that the largest churches do not believe in the five-fold ministries of Christ. Many of them are large because they require no accountability and none of them are training and equipping the saints for the work of ministry. Nothing is required of them. Jesus said, “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me”. Notice that He did not say, “See yourself as gods, confess into being anything you want”.

Is it possible that we have created a religious monster? If you take time to read through the New Testament, you can only find one kind of church. Is it possible that we no longer believe the Bible is the Word of God? Is it possible that scripture means nothing to us when we are seeking a church?

How dare we call ourselves the Church if we are not structured according to the Word of God? How can we take liberty with God’s Word and randomly state that something we do not like is no longer for our day when scripture does not say that it is to cease? On a weekly basis, thousands upon thousands of people attend religious services and pack huge auditoriums where there is no presence of God. Bible verses are preached, but many verses are conveniently omitted. We say that we are a Bible-believing church because we quote some scripture.

The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when
one says, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, are you not mere men?”

He also says in 1 Corinthians 1:12-15, “Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one would say you were baptized in my name.”

If we can never agree on the Word of God, then we should stop pretending we believe in the unity of believers. All unity comes from the Word and Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments”. Jesus said simply, “Follow Me” and sets the pattern for us to follow. He is our example, not man or man’s doctrine.

One major thing will definitely divide us and that is the issue of righteousness. Many today are beginning to give in to the secular “progressive” thinking such as ordaining homosexual ministers and performing homosexual marriages. Some are even changing their thinking on abortion. The sad thing is that some are preaching righteousness but practicing and voting for unrighteousness. Righteousness is and should be something that divides us. Light and darkness have no fellowship.

Christianity is how we live our life in Christ before others. Christianity is not simply saying, “I’m a christian”.

If there were only one kind of Chevy today, I guarantee that it would be of greater quality and endure much longer. It would be proud to be called “Chevy” and would do all it could to maintain the integrity required to keep calling itself a Chevy.

According to the Word of God, the Church could be powerful and glorious and leaves it up to us.

In
Romans 9:27, Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED...”

THERE IS ONLY ONE KIND OF CHURCH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT!
The Bible is a recipe book and you must have all the ingredients of the recipe book to be called a “church”.

The Church is not a buffet, but a gourmet restaurant, so let’s use the Bible recipe and cook up a church together that makes God smile. Remember, the Church is not “Hell’s Kitchen”, but the “Kitchen of the Saints”.

THE CONTROVERSY OF TITLES IN THE CHURCH

This letter was inspired by a recent article written by one of my favorite authors who writes for Charisma Magazine. His name is J. Lee Grady and over the past few years that I have read his material, I have agreed with most everything he writes and he writes very well. He has now written an article that I must refute. I will also be sending him a copy of this letter.

I am also finding that he is among a growing number of ministries who are downplaying the use of titles. Many who, at one time, were using the biblical titles of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher have stopped using them.

His letter has to do with the abuse of titles among ministers. I will be the first to agree that this is an area that has been terribly abused, but I don’t throw out the showing of respect because someone abused it. Throughout his entire article, he only looks at the abuse and not the scriptural or common courtesy of showing respect to those who lead us in our walk with the Lord. The bottom line of his letter is to throw out all titles and just call me “brother” (which is also a title). He states that the use of titles is “garbage”.

Here are some of the points of his article:
1. He quotes the scripture where Jesus states, “Do not be called Rabbi...” (in the same passage Jesus also said “do not be called leaders”) and here he totally misunderstands the biblical meaning of this passage. Jesus was addressing the religious spirit of his day. He was actually mocking the scribes and the Pharisees for their prideful way of loving the attention they received while standing on the street corner in their priestly garments, praying long prayers and loving being called “rabbi”. If Jesus meant for us to drop all titles, He would not have used titles Himself and would not have allowed His disciples to use them (I will address this later).

2. He then states that the use of “reverend”, “minister” and “bishop” are okay to use. Let me again go to the Word of God. The title “reverend” is acceptable and used by probably 90% of the world. Even those who do not know God accept this title, but this word is only mentioned once and then only in the King James version of the bible and it is in reference to God Himself. Psalm 111:9 say
s, “Holy and reverend is His name”. “Reverend” is a title that should only be used when referring to God and should never be used by man. In the dictionary, we find the meaning of this title as “worthy of reverence or worship”. This is the most prideful title ever used and is the most widely accepted, even by “brother” Grady. Many mock the use of biblical titles while widely using unbiblical titles. The balance is in the Word of God if we care to look.


HIS PROBLEM IS THAT HE IS JUDGING BY LOOKING ONLY AT THE ABUSE!

Let me first say that a title does not make anyone anything. It is merely a showing of respect that has been misunderstood and widely abused. Of course, we now live in a day when there is more rebellion than respect for authority.

Jesus did use titles and one example is in Matthew 26:18, where Jesus was instructing His disciples and said, “
Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, the teacher says, My time is at hand; I am to keep the passover at your house with My disciples”.

Jesus’ own disciples never called Him “Jesus”, but by the titles of “Teacher, Lord and Master”.

Now let’s look at Matthew 10:40-42 which says, “
he who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward”, etc. It becomes very clear that if you call a prophet “brother”, you will not receive the prophetic ministry you are seeking.

A ministry who chooses to be called “brother” in place of their divine calling is either walking in false humility or doesn’t know their calling.

I continue to see christians showing respect to an office outside the Church without any problem. Example: Doctor, Senator, Mr. President, etc. But we can’t allow the showing of respect in the Church because it is too prideful.

I am called of the Lord to the apostolic ministry. Not everyone receives me as an apostle and that is no problem to me. No one has to call me anything. This does not bother me and I do not insist on being called by the title, but to those who do, I receive this as an acknowledgment of my calling and a showing of respect for the price I pay to function in that which God has called me.

I will not throw out all showing of respect in the Church simply because some false ministries are abusing it. Anyone in ministry who does not use their ministry title is either ashamed of it, is walking in false humility or prefers to deny their call.

We must work together to cease the practice of abuse in not only the use of titles, but in all of the abuses that are constantly in the news bringing discredit to the name of Jesus. Ministries must come together in the true spirit of humility and grace, walking in relationship with each other and with the Lord that we might present a true reflection of Christ both to the Church and to the world!

Apostle Richard Wright
Eagles Wings Ministries
Portland, Oregon

THE AGE OF COMPROMISE

SUBJECT: Deep concern for the Church in an age of compromise

“Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches”. (2 Corinthians11:28)

Everywhere I turn today, whether on the news, on christian TV and radio, in phone conversations with christians (ministers included) or reading on the internet, I am finding compromise as I have never before seen it.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says,
“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

I don’t think that this scripture passage could be any more clear than it is, so I have to assume that the problem lies in unbelief. Where do we stand in our belief system on the Word of God? Just as I firmly believe that it takes ALL five ministry gifts to train, unify and mature the saints, it takes ALL scripture in order for it to be adequate and effective.

God’s people are not destroyed by demons, but by a lack of knowledge.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” (Hosea 4:6)

This speaks of knowledge of God, and the Word of God, in James 4:17, tells us that when we have knowledge of the right thing to do and do not do it, we are in sin.

Many preach diligently about compromise until a problem that creates the temptation to compromise comes close to home. It begins as a small compromise in the same way a huge lie can begin by a small twisting of a truth.

Quite often I find myself in a conversation with people who claim to be christians and when the conversation gets around to doctrine or lifestyle, I say to them, “it depends on how you see scripture in your life”. Even when speaking of different churches, I find myself saying the same thing, “It depends on how you see scripture”. Is scripture actually the Word of God, or is it only a history book, as some say?

I am really getting tired of hearing people say that they believe the bible and omit or rationalize or twist the basic principles of the Word of God. This would not bother me except for the fact that this seems to be among the majority of christian confession, even among the current trend with pentecostals to go back under the law and celebrate the old feasts and the Saturday sabbath. I don’t find them constructing altars and sacrificing animals, so what is accomplished if you are not going to adhere to the whole law?

Where’s THE REFORMATION? In the early 90’s there was “a new thing” God was doing. He was restoring the five-fold office of apostle. Many began to embrace this and were preaching “a new apostolic reformation”. Many books were published on this subject and some were good and some were alien to the Word of God. The reformation message was a good solid message of maturity in the Body of Christ because this reformation was to be a deep inner work to produce the outward results. Then compromise began to raise its ugly head and so this “move” of God began going the way of all past moves.

Many apostles and prophets did not understand their birthright and the seriousness of their calling and began to slowly return to the old practices and ways of doing church. Huge crowds began to flock to the new age preachers such as Rick Warren. Huge crowds were also flocking to the “marshmallow gospel” preachers such as Joel Osteen. Many who were not called to the apostolic ministry began to use the title because it became popular. Large apostolic networks arose around ministries who still do not understand the apostolic ministry but became “apostolic authorities”, such as Peter Wagner.

Then, in the early days of the new century, many who were called to these reformation governmental offices began to compromise by laying down their titles and moving more toward the more liberal teachings that were being accepted by so many as “the Word of God”. Many went back to the acceptable title of “pastor” and many others dropped all titles and referred to themselves simply as “senior elder” or “senior minister”.

This is clearly a denying of their calling or proof that they were never called to begin with. They were ashamed of their titles.

The reformation never took hold on the Body of Christ as it was intended because of compromise.
Here are some of the reasons:

1. The fear of losing old friends in our old denominations;
religious tradition is a very strong demon to defeat. This is the John 10:10 demon Jesus is speaking about. It’s not the devil, it’s religious tradition if you back up and read chapter 9 leading into this often misquoted scripture.

2. The fear of rejection and being labeled as cultish because of the use of unfamiliar titles; this is called “the fear of man”.

3. Never preaching the true apostolic message of “getting the Church in order”; this true message caused too many to leave the Church because most don’t want to be trained and equipped for the work of the Lord. Most desire to be spectators. Most still seem to run around seeking to be “chilled and thrilled and filled” with the most exciting thing happening and then improperly labeling this as “revival”.

4. I believe that the commission God has given the apostolic and prophetic ministries is simply: Make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17). We seem more concerned with making ready a people for some kind of spectacular showmanship that requires nothing of them so that we don’t lose them. We must begin discipling them into sonship and not “membership”.

5. The church’s attempt to modernize God and bring Him up to our modern thinking.

The true apostolic and prophetic ministries should be preparing the Church for what is coming. Not all will want to be prepared, so it may only be a remnant. If we stop looking at that which attracts and pleases people and find what attracts and pleases God, we will always be challenged in our faith.

Whatever happened to the Church that was to be patterned after the pattern Jesus set when He said, “I will build MY Church”? I find myself asking this question more and more...What does the Word of God have to say about the Church? Who cares what the Word of God says? By now, this reformation should have brought most of us into unity, but it seems like it has done just the opposite.

I would ask this question of everyone that has been involved with this reformation who reads this, and especially every apostle...
Where’s the reformation? Where’s the proof that this “move” was ever a reformation?

There is a remnant of true believers who are being reformed into the image of Christ and are plowing forward, not looking back at the old but going on in God.

They have submitted themselves to be trained and activated into the work of the ministry at all costs. These are those who are called “overcomers” by the Word of God. They aren’t seeking the miracles, just seeking the giver of miracles.

This is where the true reformation is happening and it is a joy to be around the overcomers who understand the meaning of reformation!

In Him,
Apostle Richard Wright