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Lowell Brueckner

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An Intermission


I probably should have used this little addition to our expositional study on Galatians as an introduction. You will have to forgive my imperfections, because I am presenting these things to you as I write. It is not a finished, polished product. I tend to think that this method produces a little more intimacy between the writer and the reader. I hope so. Please read this selection carefully, because I think it is very important in applying Paul´s letter to our situations in the 21st Century.

An Intermission

I pause a bit between the exposition of the first two chapters of Galatians, to make some observations. In studying the situation in Galatia, we need to see it from the viewpoint of the church, as we find it in the book of Acts. We need to see the differences, as well as the similarities with the church that we know today. Remember, it was just being formed and there was only one. There were no new groups or denominations springing up or specialized ministries for different needs. The main difference among the members was whether or not they had a Jewish background.

In our times, we have become accustomed to division. New churches and new groups constantly appear and no one pays much attention. Jude, for one, was very concerned with the   “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jud.3), that which was preached by Christ and followed in its purity by His disciples.

In spite of all the unnatural divisions, which we are forced to tolerate in our times, we must maintain a vision for the pure, universal church of Christ. We must recognize the universal body of Christ, consider every born-again Christian to be a brother and recognize our responsibility to his welfare. Every leader that God has raised up, and not man, is to be considered our leader to whom we owe respect, whether he belongs to our religious party or not.

The affairs of this church are also our concern. Therefore, whenever a religious group arises, which lacks the doctrinal or moral qualities of the gospel, we have the responsibility to challenge it. For example, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormons and the Seventh-Day Adventists, which have invaded the true church, are a danger to all. When a group errs from the truth or a leader falls into sin, it reflects on all, who belong to Christ. This should not be ignored. 

I recall a situation that took place in a city near where we lived in the U. S. The leading pastor of a very large church fell into sin and pastors from other churches around the city met to see what action should be taken. They called in a man of God, who possessed the spiritual authority to address the situation. He applied the Word of God and discipline to the fallen leader. The other pastors felt obligated to denounce his actions publicly.

Perhaps, this example will help to explain the biblical approach to problems, which affect all of us. If we see a new group spring up with doctrinal error or the forming of a leadership, which is not according to Scripture, we need to treat it as an invasion of the body of Christ. It is our concern!  We need to treat it in the same way as Paul treated the situation in Galatia.

Any group that takes upon itself the name of Christ… that is one that calls itself Christian… is obligated to live by the Bible… the entire Logos or Word of God, not by any method or program, regardless of its practicality, which is not specifically according to the Scriptures. Any person, who takes upon himself the responsibility of leadership, must be a man of prayer with a thorough knowledge of the Word. His doctrine must be that, which has been historically accepted by the true church.  Those qualifications will determine, whether or not he is truly called of God.

I want to say one more word about theology. Two weeks ago, I spoke on the last half of Matthew 20, in a church in our town, and the very last verse states, “Jesus was moved with compassion”. I told the congregation: “Be sure to include plenty of compassion in your doctrinal beliefs.” When I speak in favor of theology, I am not talking about a dry, brain-powered theology, by people that Tozer called ‘intellectual eggheads’. I am speaking of one of passion that moves our own hearts, as well as those to whom we speak. It is one that drives us to the Scriptures to learn more about the God that we love. I am not very interested in hermeneutics, biblical theory, homiletics, etc., which seem to me to be man’s intellectual approach to theology. Please be careful not to take that direction!

In my youth, I had good counselors, very well trained in Bible School and Seminary, and I was warned not to go that route. One good friend, highly educated, told me of having to unlearn so much after he was baptized in the Holy Spirit. The way of God’s Spirit is far different from the ways of men. Jesus said in Luke 8:18, “Take care then how you hear…” By approaching the Scriptures outside the tutorship of the Holy Spirit, the living word can actually be put to death. The men of God, for which I have the highest respect…. for example, C. H. Spurgeon, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Dr. A. W. Tozer… were men taught of God and not by men. Many more could be mentioned.


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