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SPIRITUAL FREEDOM and the Losing Legacy of Traditional Christianity

         Having squandered its influence within society, traditional Christianity no longer has much effect on the culture.

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         This is what happens when the great strength and power of Real Christianity is removed and virtually relegated to the sidelines. The Truth has been systematically retracted and replaced with false notions borne by dead religionists without a clue. The process then continues to replicate itself, having made the reality of that which the Lord Jesus brought forth in the beginning the object of ridicule and thus rejection.

         And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” [Mark 7:6-9]

THIS IS WHY GREAT AWAKENINGS MUST HAPPEN

         The traditional religionists gain full control. They remove everything that has to do with real life. They set up systems in place which corral and control the people, turning them into mere automatons doing their bidding. Why does one rarely notice that the advantages of such a setup always rise to the top for the benefit of those in control?

         The Lord Jesus, as part of His real curriculum, demanded that His disciples be servants. This does not mean that we are only supposed to serve Him which we obviously must, but that we have a general sense of being a servant to all. Being a servant, then, must demand that we think of others and their condition of life. This must mostly be the case among the members of the Community. It does not mean that those outside the Community must not also be loved, but that those within the Community have already complied with the commands of the Lord and submitted to Him. These real members have given themselves to the Lord to be used as He decides. The benefits thereof must obviously then go to them, as this is what the Lord taught. How can He bless a person with salvation, for example, unless that person complies with the necessary commands toward salvation? In other words, there is no salvation without repentance.

         Whoever then has complied with everything the Lord has commanded to be a member of His Community is thus in a place and position in which the Lord can bless with the full benefits of His Kingdom.

HOW IS THE FOLLOWING SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN?

         Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” [Mark 10:29-30] [1]

         Christians have been conditioned by pretenders to expect next to nothing from the Lord. They read their Bibles. They study the Gospel. They do in-depth research into the New Covenant epistles of Paul and the others. And they discover there are great benefits that go along with being a member of the Lord’s real Community. And they wonder where their benefits are and why such are often so hard to come by. These people, however, have never been in it for the benefits. That’s not why they signed up. They joined because they met the Lord and accepted His great love and returned that great love. They want to be with Him. They want to serve Him. They also want to be within a Community in which we all love one another and watch out for one another.

         This cannot happen in fake communities. Such groups simply do not have the goods. They do not possess the ability to gain the benefits. Why? Because they are not real. That’s why I call it Unreal Christianity. They are not connected to the Lord. They are not connected to the Lord’s great life and power. There is no spiritually regenerative power as that which was released in the very beginning.

         In short, the fake places have no Pentecost events. This is because they reject Pentecost events. The people there are not Spirit-filled and don’t want to be. They have created and set up faux communities in which the Lord is not present and thus has no power or control to significantly change things for the better. The controllers of these institutions prefer their man-made set-ups because the benefits go to them. They know they have little power to significantly help the members thereof as the Lord Jesus did in the beginning, but they refuse to change to allow the Lord control.

THE TAIL WAGGING THE DOG

         This is also why the culture has greater influence on these places than vice versa. The original Church from its very creation had greater power than any other entity on the planet. EVERY SINGLE MEMBER WAS GIVEN THIS GREAT POWER. It was never meant only for some ridiculous higher class. The Lord meant it for everybody. When one reads the historical record within the Book of Acts he sees the powerful coming forth of a people released from all shackles, from the shackles of sin and also from those of cultural arrangements that had always previously kept them down and out. Just as the Lord said, these people were now FREE:

         So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” [John 8:31-32]

         The word translated as free means to be released from the dominion of sin, to be set at liberty, and even to be released from liability. This is real freedom! Once a person gains this freedom it means all things are possible. When people gain this freedom they get really happy really fast! That’s what happened at Pentecost. An incredible release took place. People were set free from virtual prisons. Joy broke out all over. They gave themselves to their new Lord and Master and were no longer under the sway of masquerading imposters who promise everything and deliver nothing.

         Dead religious tradition had made a deal with the devil and kept them bound. The Lord Jesus set them free.

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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CUTTING OFF GOLIATH’S HEAD

         When soldiers go to war they should not be surprised when the enemy attacks them. If they are surprised it is due to bad training and clueless instructors who have no idea what real war is all about.

         When an individual joins up with the Lord, he should know that he’s not joining a peace love dove happiness commune with a bunch of shallow spiritual hippies and a goofy guru completely oblivious to the powerful forces of evil.

         To deny evil in this world is to deny reality. Those who attempt to create evil-free societies without going to war against evil will always fail. It is only a matter of time until they fail. They might continue on as communal groups but only as ineffective fossils with regard to original idealistic intentions.

THEN COMETH THE WARRIOR

         When the Lord Jesus was born into this fallen world no one saw that His birth was an attack from heaven by a powerful Warrior against an entrenched extremely evil enemy. They only saw a baby. He did this on purpose, of course. He came in like a Lamb. And He kept His life very humble and low key.

         But then the day came to go to war:

         Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph… [Luke 3:21-23]

         God became one of us at His conception and birth. The Lord Jesus had always been God even while in training. The day came, however, when His training was complete. He signaled to the world that He must be baptized in water like everyone else, even though He required no repentance. He also signaled to the world an echo of the future Pentecost when He must also be anointed for service through a visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Mark used the term “Spirit.” Matthew used the term “Spirit of God.”

         Though Jesus was God He still needed to be anointed for service. Prior to beginning His ministry, He had to have the power and anointing that would be required to not only engage in miraculous works and teaching, but to also successfully fight the enemy. Being born into this world was the beginning of heaven’s attack. Being anointed for service by the power of the Spirit of God signaled the conclusion of His training and the beginning of open warfare.

         Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. [Matthew 4:1]

         When the Lord was baptized in water it was His own personal Red Sea Crossing. He then went into “the Sinai” for forty days. One must recall that the nation of Israel was originally intended to spend only forty days in the Sinai before taking the Promised Land, but they proved to be completely unfit and faithless at that time. God made it their penalty to wander for forty years instead.

         The Sinai wandering was indicative of killing the flesh. One already kills “the world” by leaving it and joining the Lord’s Kingdom. But after successfully defeating the world and the flesh one must then face off against the devil.

         Without the infilling of the Spirit of God as at Pentecost, one will have no chance whatsoever. The devil will either render a Christian completely ineffective or destroy him. Satan is a powerful spiritual enemy. If the Lord Himself needed to be anointed for service and for spiritual warfare then so does every one of His disciples. This is exactly what Pentecost is for.

         The temptation of the enemy is impossible to overcome without completely surrendering to God and receiving His power. Defeating the enemy is, of course, impossible as well. If one goes to war trained improperly without the proper weaponry and strength one will have no chance. Spiritual warfare demands the best. Why do Christians wonder about the attacks that come their way as if it is something that is not supposed to happen? Did not the Lord warn us?

         “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” [Matthew 5:11-12]

         The Lord Jesus came in like a Lamb. He submitted Himself as the Sacrifice Lamb at the end. But during His ministry, under the great power of His Holy Spirit, He was the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He came to fix things, to set things aright, to reform a system that had grown hopelessly corrupt, and to usher in the Kingdom of God. The evil people hated Him with a passion. They didn’t like anything about Him. They attacked Him relentlessly. He stood up to all of it.

         Here’s the key: He knew what was in store. He was not surprised by all the hate. He knew the entire world was against Him. He knew they hated Him. He went behind enemy lines when He arrived here. He fought the enemy long and hard. He was subjected to the most vile insults, innuendo, and lack of respect that no one had ever been subjected to before or since.

         But He was ready. He was anointed.

TORRENT OF HATRED

         We are entering into days when the level of outright hatred in America has achieved Biblical proportions. Whoever will attempt to engage in any level of reform will be attacked vociferously. But this has always been the case for real Christians. They are not surprised. Real Christians remember a level of surprise as rookies, in not understanding why so much unwarranted hatred was coming their way. Then they understood what every well-trained soldier knows: The enemy is not your friend. The enemy hates you. The enemy will attempt to destroy your life. The enemy will try to kill you. If the enemy is not trying to get you, you’re not doing your job. Those Christians unaware of this are as ducks on a pond.

         The Lord Jesus was subjected to all of these things, as were His men. The more authority and power they had, the more they were attacked. Why? BECAUSE THEY WERE BEING POWERFULLY EFFECTIVE AT DESTROYING THEIR ENEMY. They were exposing him and applying solutions to eliminate his corruption. What else is the devil supposed to do, just sit back and let you win? He will throw everything he has at you. You better be able to throw everything back at Him.

         When the enemy is on the run you must keep him on the run. This is how you do it:

         Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand.

         Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. The sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps.

         Then David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem… [1Samuel 17:48-54] [1]

         David was powerfully anointed for service. He attacked the enemy in the Name of the Lord. He did not just knock Goliath down with a small rock sunk in the giant’s head from a mere sling, HE ALSO CUT OFF THE GIANT’S HEAD WITH THE GIANT’S OWN SWORD.

         He then took the bloody symbol of the devil’s former authority to the place of God’s authority in the capital city and put it up in a place where everyone could see it.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Catholics Speaking in Tongues! The Spirit-Filled Movement of the 1960s

         In light of the fact that the Pope was recently in the news again and let everyone know what it means to be a real Christian, there is a powerful anniversary for Roman Catholics that he should have paid attention to that gives one a much better indication.

         The Catholic Charismatic movement is now 49 years old. It was in early 1967 when the Spirit-filled movement reached Catholics in a major way.

         The movement had started among denominational Christianity around 1960. All of the sudden, Christians of many Protestant denominations began getting baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues, exactly as it happened in the Book of Acts.

THEY SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES

         Many were skeptical of the movement but the movement continued unabated. If you want to read a good introductory book of that early time, I suggest They Speak with Other Tongues by John Sherrill. John Sherrill also wrote The Cross and the Switchblade with David Wilkerson.

         Sherrill was indeed one of the skeptics. Early on, he thought the entire phenomenon of speaking with other tongues to be a farce. But as he yielded to the Lord Jesus and continued seeking, he found actual proof that he was wrong.

         Just as the Pope is wrong. He made a false judgment and got called out on it. By the way, there has never been a tongue-talking Roman Catholic Pope that we know of, including the current one. Yet there are perhaps millions of tongue-talking Spirit-filled Catholic Charismatics the world over. I don’t have the space here to go very deep on the subject, but if you are interested, and you should be, there are many books and publications on the topic.

         Here is one from 1969: Catholic Pentecostals

         The simple fact is that the Lord began pouring out His Spirit on traditional Protestants of almost every denomination in the early 1960s and then began doing the same with Catholics. Priests and nuns were getting Spirit-filled. They were all speaking in tongues. Imagine that.

PENTECOSTAL PIONEERS

         It’s hard for me to imagine in one sense because I was raised Catholic. I never saw anything in my circle. It must have been very well hidden. In the defense of those early Pentecostal Catholics, I am sure they had a very fine line to walk.

         I left Catholicism while still in high school. Then, about five years later, by the Lord’s great grace, I was blessed with the same experience! Though I found the Lord in a Pentecostal church, I began meeting with Spirit-filled Christians of many traditions. There was a lot of cross-fellowship back then. We visited many Spirit-filled black churches. THAT was fun. Many black people in America had been Spirit-filled for decades and had a rich experience by that time, though many denominational white Christians were just then coming into the experience.

         Of course, Pentecostalism also had a rich tradition among predominantly white churches in America long prior to 1960. It didn’t take long with all the cultural shifts in America in the 1960s for whites and blacks to begin worshipping the Lord together, although the Azusa Street Revival in 1906 got that ball rolling.

         William Seymour, a black preacher from Texas went to Los Angeles and was promptly kicked out of an early meeting. He then began leading a small group of all colors and cultures that soon exploded into one of the greatest Awakenings in America history. This white and black Christian togetherness is another largely untold story at present, in that real Christianity has been most responsible for bridging racial and cultural divides.

         Roman Catholics would seem to never have any acceptance for speaking in tongues, but I also attended many Catholic Charismatic meetings in the 1970s. Some Spirit-filled Catholics left Catholicism but many others stayed. There were so many being Spirit-filled and speaking in tongues that Catholic leadership had quite a dilemma on their hands. They couldn’t do anything whatsoever to stop it so the hierarchy reverted to channeling it in what they thought was a relatively safe direction.

         Denominational Protestants did the same. Many Protestant denominational leaders and church pastors did everything in their power to stop the movement. This is all history and again, the record is very clear and available for anyone of you who may wish to inquire further.

         No, when the Pope said building protective walls is not Christian, even though the Vatican itself is surrounded by tall protective walls and has been for over a thousand years, he was wrong. He is also wrong to choose against Spirit-filled reality like the majority of Catholics have done, a spiritual dividing wall that the Lord Jesus never sanctioned. Regardless, and knowing the true pioneers will always be a minority, we should pay some honor to those original Spirit-filled, tongue-talking Catholics of 1967 who loved the Lord Jesus so much and wanted everything He had for them that they boldly defied staunch convention and joined the movement.

         We should also honor all those Protestants who took it on the chin in the early 60s and did the unthinkable. I know VERY WELL what it is like to be castigated for making the right choice. For those who know, there is no wrath quite like the wrath of stubborn Christians who insist on their dead orthodoxy and man-made beliefs. The Lord often called his own people hard-headed and stiff-necked. It’s all over the Old Testament Scriptures. And it has also been the case among the majority of Protestants and Catholics in this world.

         Therefore, it is great to have a historical record, and a very recent one at that, to prove the truth of the Book of Acts experience. It only doesn’t happen for those who don’t want it. Conversely, for all those who do want it, the experience is readily available. The Lord Jesus is ever faithful.

         The 1960s Spirit-filled outpouring has been forgotten somewhat, and many Christians have never even heard of it. This shows how bad things have become for many in that they are oblivious to recent spiritual history. Hopefully, the current Great Awakening will continue to shed more light on those times.

         I highly recommend to all Christians out there who have never had a real Book of Acts Spirit-filled experience to at least begin reading up on what took place in America in the 1960s. The research will enlighten you.

         Again, congratulations to all those Catholics who were Spirit-filled in 1967. Happy Anniversary! And may the Pope join you soon and gain greater understanding of what it means to be a real Christian.

         And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:4] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

On the Threshold of Heaven (5)

      The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.

      To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

      Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

      So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

      He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

      And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

      Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

      When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. [Acts 1:1-14] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.