Wednesday, November 28, 2012




Today the Christian Ledger is interviewing Brother Levi Sandals.  We have had serious differences with him in the past.  But we want to give him a fair chance to explain.  Jesus said to go first to your brother.


Ledger:  Thank you for speaking with us.  We thought it important to hear from you personally.  Things have a way of being distorted when passed on from one mouth to another.  We want to continue with things you said in our former interview.


Sandals:  I am always happy to talk about Jesus!  He is so important to me.


L: You said something about people wearing blinders when they read the Bible.


S: Yes.  Paul spoke of this.  “But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.”  2 Cor 3:14 (NKJV)


“But when we turn our lives back towards the Boss, the mask is taken off. The Boss is the Spirit of God, and wherever God’s Spirit is, there’s freedom. We’ve got our masks off and God’s brilliance is bouncing off our faces; it’s changing us – our features are evolving; we’re looking more and more attractive as God’s Spirit puts plastic surgeons out of work by the thousands. Only our Boss makes us truly beautiful.”  2 Cor 3:16-18  Lacey


I like the way Lacey worded Jesus and the Pharisees in John 5:39-40.  “You got your degrees in the sacred books, PhD’s in books about the sacred books, and you’re convinced they’ll get you into heaven. But for all the points you score – you miss the Point: it’s all about ME! It’s jam-packed with huge stomping clues about ME. But you can’t admit it, ’cos then you’d have to ask ME for the limitless life you want.”


L: We note you are using the NKJV.  What is your reasoning?


S: We fault the Catholics for Latin.  But we have done the same with the ancient language of King James.  The NKJV is a good balance of traditional language and accuracy.  I use many translations and also languages in my study.  But I mostly use the NKJV in the pulpit.  And Paul did say: “he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,”  1 Tim 6:4 (NKJV)


L: And who is Lacey?  You quote him.


S: Lacey was British and had an interesting way of saying things.  He was dying of cancer when he wrote “The Word On The Street.”  This is a commentary on the Bible. He offers a unique insight at times into the original text.


L: Does that conflict with inerrancy?


S: Not at all.  Those inspired writers used the languages spoken on the street in their day.  Surely they wrote just what God wanted them to write.  God speaks all languages and we read them to understand.  Paul said: “There are many different languages in the world, and every language has meaning.  But if I don’t understand a language, I will be a foreigner to someone who speaks it, and the one who speaks it will be a foreigner to me.”  1 Cor 14:10-11 (NLT)


We need a “poetic soul” to understand the Bible.  Books like Revelation use figures familiar to the Jewish readers of the First Century.  Babylon” was the Roman Empire, but also the “world that is passing away” (1 John 2:15-17).  I like the way the NLT words this.   “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.”


Lacey uses this poetic soul.  “I only pull you up and back into line ’cos I love you. So get serious. Turn your life back round to God. I’m waiting here outside your front door. I’m pressing the buzzer. If you hear my voice on your intercom and press the ‘Enter’ button, I’ll come in with a full-on takeaway and we’ll have a great meal together and put our world to rights.” Rev 3:19-20


Rich Little, an Australian, wrote of this.  “In the months preceding the death of my dear friend, mentor and “American” mum, Barby Smith, she spoke from her heart to a well-known faculty member with whom she differed on many things. She said, “You know, when you’re dying, the things you once thought were most important are not as important anymore, and I’ve wasted a lot of time.” The vision of Christ her King was fixed in her eyes. May He be so in ours as we unite around a common love and service for Him for all who will come and for all to whom we go.” 


L. On a different subject, some are saying science has driven a stake into the heart of the "god delusion."  We watched a video of the science of Dr. Who.  Science is amazing.  Our grandson is learning to program welding robots.  Do you consider this a Bible subject?


S. You must consider everything the Bible does say.  Some “proof-text” the Bible and ignore many things.  Or they do not think through the implications of the Bible.  God created people in His own image.  Anything that science finds is something which God already placed there.  God has given us almost unlimited creativity.  God has given us a mind that can leap ahead to a conclusion that has not followed a complete process of logical development.


L. How do you arrive at this?  What is your reasoning?


S.  The tower of Babel.  Genesis 11.  The NLT brings this out.  “But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!  Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”  Gen 11:5-7 (NLT) 


I believe God gave all the variety of physical characteristics that divide us.  But there is a default value which stabilizes humanity.  Paul said: “From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.”  Acts 17:26 (NLT)


And Paul mentions this to the Corinthians.  “For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.” 1 Cor 11:19 (NKJV)


L. Factions, you say.  How do you understand this?


S.  Paul the Apostle said to the Corinthians: “for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? 1 Cor 3:3-4 (NLT)   Some seek to justify their factitious actions as “Standing For The Old Paths.”  Jesus warned about the “leaven of the Pharisees.”   But we demonstrate by our actions our true love for God and for one another.  1 John 3:23-24.


We are actually workers on the same team.  Paul said: “Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.  I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”  1 Cor 3:5-6 (NLT)


L. This has certainly been interesting.  Let’s get together again soon and continue our interview.






Tuesday, November 27, 2012


PAPER POPE – An Interview


Today the Christian Ledger is interviewing Brother Levi Sandals.  We have had serious differences with him in the past.  But we want to give him a fair chance to explain.  Jesus said to go first to your brother.


Ledger:  Thank you for speaking with us.  We thought it important to hear from you personally.  Things have a way of being distorted when passed on from one mouth to another.


Sandals:  I certainly have been misunderstood in some things I now regret having done.  It did cause me problems.


L: Did you do it?  What we heard, that is.  We were in Christian College at the time.  We were all properly scandalized!  And shocked!


S: Yes.  To my regret I did.  In a fit of emotion I got carried away.  Perhaps you have done this too. 


L: You actually threw your Bible on the floor and said: “I will not be bound by a paper pope.”


S:  In my defense I ask you to listen to what Jesus said.  “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees.”  That is what I intended to do. 


L:  Then you do accept the Bible?


S:  I believe that holy men of God wrote just exactly what God intended.  My problem is with some who READ INTO IT things that are not there.  That is what I intended to protest.


L:  But you spoke of a “paper pope.”


S:  Paul wrote: “The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.”  I believe Paul was speaking about the way in which some use the Bible.


L:  But isn’t what Paul said a contrast between Law and Gospel?


S:  Listen to Paul.  “But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.”  2 Cor 3:14 (NKJV)   Again, Listen to Christ Himself.  “You search the Scriptures, for in them you THINK you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”  John 5:39-40 (NKJV)


L:  So you are saying with Jesus: “Take heed how you hear.”


S:  That’s what I intended to say.  But you know preachers.  Sometimes we get too involved in what we are trying to communicate.


L:  We remember when a young preacher was trying to emphasize how Naaman had to dip seven times.  “If Naaman had dipped only six and a half times he would not have been saved.”


S:  No, he would have drowned.  That is just my point exactly.  We use the laws of language when we read the newspaper.  We should read the Bible using these same laws of language.


L:  Alexander Campbell said he tried to approach the Bible each day as if he had never seen it before.


S:  Certainly this is impossible.  But we do want to let the Bible speak for itself.  That is, to use the laws of language and context to deduce what the Bible is actually teaching.


S:  This is how Karl Barth describes the shift towards Biblicism that took place in much of Protestantism after the Reformation: The Bible was now grounded upon itself apart from the mystery of Christ and the Holy Ghost. It became a "paper Pope," and unlike the living Pope in Rome it was wholly given up into the hands of its interpreters. It was no longer a free and spiritual force, but an instrument of human power.” (CD I.2, p 525)

Here is where Barth finds the great sin of Biblicism. Rather than submitting to the Word made flesh revealed in the Bible (i.e. Jesus), we have all-to-often submitted simply to the book, to the Bible. Which ultimately takes the authority away from Christ and places it into the hands of the interpreter of Scripture.  And Peter the Apostle said some had twisted the words of Paul the Apostle.


L:  We hear you saying that some by their actions seem to say: “We have the Bible – we have no need for Christ anymore.”


S:  Yes.  And some deny the Holy Spirit as did some Jews in Christ’s day.  They said Jesus did miracles by the power of the devil.


L:  What then do you see as the power of the Bible?


S:  I Think Luke said it in the first verses of his Gospel.  “…that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.”  Luke 1:4 (NKJV)   As eye-witnesses of JESUS the disciples saw and heard the things which He did and taught.  And Paul (Luke’s mentor) was given these things by inspiration.


L: We sing: “The Light of the World is Jesus!”  Red letter editions emphasize the words Jesus spoke.  And Jesus said we would be judged by the words He has spoken.


S:  I liked the way Rob Lacey emphasized Isaiah 9:6.  “It’s a boy! And He’s ours! He’ll grow up to carry the government on His shoulders. His titles will include Wonderful Wise One, Awesome God, Father Who Stays, Peace Prince. His tranquil rule will just keep on spreading. He’ll sit on David’s throne and run a kingdom full of justice and goodness right into eternity. God’s burning enthusiasm will see this is done.”


L: And we say Amen!  We are pleased to be able to join you as brothers in Christ to proclaim the everlasting Gospel!





Sunday, November 18, 2012




I grew up in Depression years.  On our small farm we had apples and pears and lots of berries.  Grandmother canned some things and dried others.  We had little money but lots of good things to eat.  At Christmas time the small church we attended gave candy and things to the children.  My prize gift to receive was an orange – one solitary orange.  But to this small child, it was a priceless gift.  Nothing tasted so delicious as that orange!  The context is that there were no supermarkets yet and fresh fruit in the winter was almost impossible to find.


Later, working in an office, gifts were exchanged at Christmas time.  Good cheer and good times.  But one gift that always showed up was a desiccated orange.  It was an old orange that had dried up and mummified.  It was supposed to be funny.  Wrapped in beautiful paper with silver seals, but when you opened it!  Good for a laugh but nothing else.  It was now just a hard dry skin, useless.


It was a real orange from a tree.  It once had tasty juice and pulp.  But it gradually dried up and died.  It still looked like an orange, pale color, round, and we called it our orange.  But it was desiccated, worthless, only a gag gift.


Congregations can go through the process like that orange.  Paul the apostle wrote: “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” 2 Tim 3:5 (NKJV).  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.  Power cannot be separated from form.  Just as faith without works is a form without substance (James 2:26), so is religion (pattern) without power.  You may have the most expensive car, but if you remove the battery, I won’t run.  You need the power.


Some lose their first love of Christ and wither.  Some preachers listen to harsh preaching on tapes and then repeat those things word for word.  A woman at a tiny congregation came to the preacher in the parking lot.  “Don’t you like anything about us?  What could we do to please you?”  He had preached harshly about how you must sing even if you have a sore throat.  A congregation about to call a new preacher said: “But he preaches such wonderfully harsh sermons!”  Then in a month they put him out of the pulpit.


Congregations can go through a process that leaves them like that old orange.   Jesus warned: "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Luke 12:1 (NKJV).   Paul spoke of “will worship.”  “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” Col 2:23 (NKJV).   Some champion “old paths” but we ask: Whose old paths are they???  The New Testament church was filled with life and spiritual vigor.  We read: “praising God and having favor with all the people."  Acts 2:47 (NKJV).

Walter Scott wrote a booklet “The Holy Ghost.”  .  It was bound with Campbell’s The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. 2 (1831).   “CHRISTIANITY, as developed in the Sacred Oracle, is sustained by three divine missions--the mission of Jesus, the mission of the Apostles, and the mission of the Holy Spirit.”  And: “Here, then, we have the descent of the great spiritual missionary into the body of Christ, the church; from which moment he has never left it, and never can leave it; for while the personal mission of Jesus to the Jews, and that of the Apostles to the world, were only temporary, the mission of the Spirit into the body of Christ is an eternal matter--even death cannot annul it.  "For if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwell in you," says Paul, "he that raised up Jesus from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." "He shall abide with you forever."


God is more generous than we are.  Even when we focus intently on form, power is there also.  Picture a man sitting, always looking down at the dust and debris at his feet, searching for something of value.  And above his head is a gold crown.  He needs just to reach up and take it.  The Psalmist wrote: “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.”  Psalms 130:3-4 (NKJV).


The message of the Gospel is the GOD who loves us and calls us through Jesus Christ – the Eternal Word who came in flesh & blood, skin & bones – the Lamb who takes away sins.  “Law” sells well.  “Obedience” is necessary – but notice John the Apostle.  “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.”  1 John 3:22-23 (NKJV).


PS: Moses Lard, was an old preacher who sometimes seemed very harsh.  Shortly before his death he said something like this.  “If I had my life to live over, I would still preach the same gospel.  But I would preach it more with a sense of: God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”








Saturday, November 10, 2012

God's Power Never Fails

God's Power Never Fails!

   "Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep.  And he said to me, "What do you see?" So I said, "I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps.  Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left."  So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, "What are these, my lord?"  Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord."  So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the Lord of hosts."  Zech 4:1-6 (NKJV)  [compare Rev. 11:1-6  Two olive trees: Moses & Elijah.]


   1. Think of the church as being on life support.

   "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."  Acts 1:8

   "And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness..... And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all."  Acts 4:31,33

   "So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.  We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit."  Eph 2:19-22 (NLT)


   2. Speaking to be understood

   Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:"  Acts 17:22-23

   Paul the Apostle looked out on a world which would be won for Christ.  To those who had no Bible background, Paul preached the gospel using their frame of reference.

   a) GOD is Creator of all.

   b) GOD is the giver of life.

   c) GOD wants everyone to seek Him.

   d) Repent - change your heart and life.

   e) GOD will judge the World.

   f) GOD raised Christ Jesus from the dead.

   "It makes a difference whether you see the body of flesh as a prison-house of the soul, or as the temple of the Holy Spirit."  Brinsmead


   3. God has a plan for each of us.

   "But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.  None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.  Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord God, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live?"  Ezek 18:21-23

   "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."  John 3:16-17

   "God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.  Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work."  Psalms 62:11-12

   a) By His power He can show both mercy and justice.

   "If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?  But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared."  Psalms 130:3-4

   "Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins." Heb 9:14 (NLT)

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Thinking Straight

"Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown." Rev 3:10-11

"The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call on the Lord?" Psalms 14:2-4

"Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Cor 6:11 (NLT)

Idolatry. Few of us know anyone who worships birds or snakes. Forms of idolatry may have changed, but human hearts have not. Some claim science has driven a stake into the heart of the "god delusion." But blindness to the knowledge of God leaves mankind in the dark about himself.

Foolishness. Without the light of God, we could not answer the basic questions of life. Where have I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? How can I find happiness? Is there life after death?

He made them male and female. Eve was a companion- counterpart of Adam. The male/female principle extends throughout Creation. Having suppressed the truth of God revealed in Creation, man now suppresses the truth about himself. Male and female is meant to be fruitful and life-giving team of a man and a woman.

Approving of sin. "The rejection of God is not the end result of a clear, logical, innocent, pursuit of truth or the end result of human progress, It is a decision of the human will; it is voluntary blindness." Herbeck

Wake! "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." Eph 5:14

Man is free to choose God or to reject Him. Man is free to "create" his own worldview and way of life. But, man is not free to avoid the consequences of his own decisions.

The Mind of Christ! In the face of Jesus, Paul saw for the first time, the truth about his own life. In the "washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5) Paul came to see the "secret and hidden wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 2:6-7). God's mercy was a gift (Eph. 3:1-7)!

New beginnings.

"I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself." Eph 1:19-23 (NLT)

Honor and praise.

When the church is being the church, we will find a spirit among people that honors and praises the Christ of the Gospel. If honor and praise is not present, something is wrong. Also, we should find character that is Christ-like.

"If you want a happy life and good days,

keep your tongue from speaking evil,

and keep your lips from telling lies.

Turn away from evil and do good.

Work hard at living in peace with others.

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,

and His ears are open to their prayers.

But the Lord turns His face

against those who do evil."

1 Peter 3:10-12 (NLT)