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Lowell Brueckner

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Please read an article by a man from the "brethern movement", who has it together concerning Christian loyalties. It applies to all of us, whether we are involved in a denomination, an organization, a local church or an independent body of believers.

What do you think of the person who says, "My parents were members of this denomination. I was born in it. And I'll die in it." "Oh," you say, "I think he's wrong to talk like that:" "Yes, but why is he wrong?" "I suppose because he assumes his denomination is right and will always be right." "Well, then, to what denomination or group should he be loyal?" "I guess he shouldn't be loyal to any denomination, because no denomination is perfect." "One final question. If he shouldn't be loyal to any denomination or group of Christians, to what should he be loyal?" "He ought to be loyal to the Lord and to the principles of His Word." Yes, of course! That is the only correct answer. It is a mistake to develop an undying loyalty to any Christian fellowship, no matter how scriptural it may be at the time. Even suppose that you reject the whole idea of denominations. Suppose you meet with Christians who refuse any sectarian name. Suppose, for instance, that they speak of themselves by the innocuous name of "the assemblies." They seek to adhere to the teaching of the Word. Shouldn't you throw in your lot with them permanently and be loyal to them alone? If you do, you will find yourself in a difficult position. You are committed to a group that will almost inevitably change over the years. This has been the history of almost every Christian fellowship. Liberal tendencies creep in. Zeal and freshness give way to formalism. A denominational hierarchy develops. Soon you can write Ichabod over the whole thing-the glory has departed.

Then again, if you are loyal to a group of assemblies, the question always arises, "With which particular ones do you agree?" There are wide differences among any group of local churches, just as there are wide differences among individuals. Some are open, some are exclusive. Some are conservative, some are liberal. Some have a pastor who presides over the congregation, others repudiate a one-man ministry. No two assemblies are exactly alike. So there is a real problem. To which assemblies are we to be loyal? Are we to blindly subscribe to all the assemblies that might be listed in a semi-official address book? It seems obvious that we cannot consistently do this. We must judge each individual assembly by the Word of God, as far as our own personal affiliation is concerned. Here is another problem. If my loyalty is to a particular group of local churches, what is to be my attitude toward other Christian groups that might in some ways be closer to the New Testament pattern than mine is? How do I evaluate them? Do I simply wave them off by saying, "They are not among 'our' assemblies." Do I accept or reject them by whether their activities are reported in one of "our" magazines?

Karyn´s Poetry


That I May Know Him

As my heart You individually fashion,
Make me a servant humble, lowly and meek.
To know Jesus my only sought passion,
So on this earth no reputation I’ll seek.

But my affections You will fix up above,
And conspicuous, my mission made clear,
You will fill me with His “no greater love”,
Then pour me out to draw others near.

And to this world so dark I’ll be light,
Selfless to serve with each breath.
Through me He will manifest bright,
By my being conformed to His death.

On my knees to wash feet I will bend,
And offer other’s burdens to bear.
Laying down my life as a friend,
I will in His suffering share.

I will willingly bear up my cross,
Enduring whatever be the cost,
Counting all on this earth rubbish and loss,
Even my life to rescue Your lost.

I’ll press on through trial and pain,
Accept every circumstance grim,
Until death is surely my gain,
Because that is the way I’ll know Him.

Causes and Characteristics of an Organization


Gal 1:10 “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.”

1Co 7:23 “Ye were bought with a price; become not bondservants of men.”

It is true that at times, when Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God, He included that which is external and visible. That is especially obvious in the parables of Matthew 13. Almost the whole chapter demonstrates that not everything, which visibly and tangibly relates to the things of God, is in truth of eternal value. The chapter begins with the Parable of the Sower and it shows that not all the seed of the Kingdom brings eternal fruit. He spoke of the Kingdom as a net that caught good and bad species of fish. He taught that the Kingdom is as a treasure in the field. The whole field is bought to be able to possess the treasure, but of course, not all the field is the treasure. He affirmed that among the good wheat, useless tares would grow. He illustrated how a grain of mustard grew in an abnormal way, above the intention of the one who sowed it. In the same way, the leaven is mixed into three measures of meal and the size exceeded its substantial value.

Nevertheless, before the Pharisees, when it came time to separate that which was external and visible from that which was internal and spiritual, Jesus said to them, “The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display, nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts]…” (Luke 17:20-21, Amplified Version. Note: The Greek preposition translated here within is only found in one other place in the New Testament. It is where Jesus said, “Cleanse first the INSIDE of the cup and of the platter…” Mt. 23:26.) Before Pilate, Jesus reduced things to their lowest terms to announce,“My kingdom is not of this world…” (John 18;36).

The most extreme and fanatical conclusion to which a group of people can come is a conviction that their organization or religious society is an exclusive representation of the Kingdom of God on the earth. Therefore, the only way to be saved, they believe, is through their organization and to leave its cover is the same as abandoning Christ and His gospel. It deserves the complete devotion and loyalty of its members. If you are there, everything that is necessary to life and godliness is provided, so there is no reason to look elsewhere. They are the body of Christ and the family of God. There are people who believe just that and without a doubt they are under a total deception. I hope that few who read this article have fallen into such a deception.

Raquel's testimonies



by Raquel Ehmer

I was born in Cacahuatepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, where my parents were missionaries. I was the fourth child, following three boys. After me three more girls were born and another boy. We were brought up in the ways of God. I am so thankful to have had parents, who taught us early about Him.

I was still young (six-years-old), when I realized that I was a sinner and needed a Savior. I remember, I was playing outside under a big tree. My older brother, Steve, told me that if the tree would fall on me and kill me, I would go to hell, because Jesus hadn’t saved me. That shook me up and I didn’t feel like playing anymore. I wandered around our yard, pondering what I should do. I finally went to find Mom. She took me into Dad’s study, where she explained to me that everyone was a sinner and needed to be saved. When she asked me if I wanted to pray to Jesus to ask Him to save me and live in my heart, I became excited. I was very happy after praying. I wasn’t afraid of trees falling on me anymore, because Jesus had saved me!

A few days later, I was in school and the teacher was leading devotions. She said, “It isn’t enough to ask Jesus into your heart. It’s also important to make right the things that are wrong in your life and ask people you wronged for forgiveness.” That wouldn’t be easy, but I started to ask forgiveness from everyone, who came to mind. The hardest thing for me to confess was stealing a chocolate bar from my friend, Merry Elva. I saved that confession until last. It was difficult, but after it was done, I had peace.

In 1979, my family moved to Minnesota and then, seven years later, to Germany. There, I met and married Tom Ehmer. We settled down in a town near Augsburg in Bavaria. In 1994, a little baby girl, Jessica, was born to us. On June 14, l995, she was seven-months-old and I read a child devotional book, written by Joni Erickson Tada. It had a special prayer: “Please be with my daddy today; he has so much to think about. Be with him in a special way.” I thought to myself, “That does not really relate to us today,” without realizing how much we all would need the Lord’s presence in a matter of hours and in the months to come.

Plans suddenly smashed