ACH Study Groups
Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders
7659 Gingerblossom Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95621
November 23, 2013
This is a mail-merge letter to our friends –
Thoughts about God –
& our relationship with Him
“The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God ‘.” [Psalm 14:1] These thoughts are not for fools. I will be pleased to demonstrate God’s existence and personality from simple observation and reason, at another time.
During the 17th & 18TH centuries the Christian church in England was in turmoil. The “official“ state church was changed from Roman Catholic to Church of England. – depending upon who was on the British throne! Both were episcopal in form. The arch Bishop amounted to an English Pope.
A more fundamental source of the turmoil was the publishing of the Bible in the common English language. Men and women wanted to learn to read, so that they could read God’s word for themselves! There was an explosion of literacy! One could well claim that the Bible in English was the seed of the industrial revolution!
As people read the Bible for themselves they developed a concept of individual self-worth through a personal relationship with the God of the Bible. As those concepts grew stronger, they compared the existing episcopal (top down) church structure with what they learned about the church in Scripture. This developed a dilemma – either stay in the church and push for change – or follow your conscience — “Reform now without tarrying for any.” (The motto of the Pilgrims.) Either stay in the church and work to improve it, or leave the church and form your own. Sound familiar?
The top down (rule of one) form was morphing into rule of a few, because those who stayed were pulling the top down to them. Those who left the church (Pilgrims were not the only such group) and formed their own, developed the concept of rule by many.
Think about it. – Reason tells us that there are only three possible elements for government of an organization (including church denominations): rule-of-one, -few, -many.
I find all three forms; rule of one, rule of few, rule of many – playing a role in Biblical as well as American history. At issue is not the form, but the relationship.
Membership in a human organization cannot substitute for a personal, one-on-one relationship with Christ, the Messiah of the Bible. Granted: corporate relationship with God (i.e. church) will enhance that relationship – but – it cannot be a substitute for personal belief.
If you say you have never violated God’s law, your present relationship with God is secure. However – His word says, “all have sinned” and, “The punishment for sin is death”. Thus, you may not be as secure as you thought!
“[I]f thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus (i.e. that He is the Messiah foretold in the Bible – the Son of God), and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” [Romans 10:9-10]