All Apostolic Preachers
By David Sheppard
Dear Apostolic Brethren,
Greetings in the wonderful name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I will introduce myself to those who may not know me. I was born in Fort Worth, Texas and have lived here all of my life. I was raised in the church the late Elder C. W. Shew started here in Fort Worth in 1950 and I am thankful for my heritage. I would never attempt to claim the mantel that he so ably wore; but, I cannot deny that I am a product of his ministry. I am thankful for the foundation he gave to me.
With the introduction given, I have some things that have been on my mind and heart here of late. I have been bothered by things that have been creeping into our ranks and churches. We as Apostolic preachers need to speak with a single voice. For without a unified voice, I fear that the church will become more deeply divided than it already has become. I have longed for a unified church that would speak the truth and nothing but the truth. However, as you well know, compromise has swept over our churches and in many cases it is difficult to recognize that we are in an apostolic church at all.
I. Many churches have moved the prayer time that was before service to a prayer room rather than in the sanctuary. Do you believe that it is appropriate and necessary to begin each service with prayer and to do so as the members and visitors enter into the sanctuary or to have it in a separate room specifically designated for this purpose as some do now?
2. How much importance do you place on keeping the preached ministry unfettered by maintaining an open pulpit?
3. Can any Trinitarian preacher edify the true church? If so, when and how?
4. Many of our churches have been using various conferences (i.e. women’s and men’s conferences, youth rallies and conferences, and ministerial conferences) to reach and rally the church as a whole. Is this necessary? Do these really cover issues that the pastor and local assembly are not able to meet? Why or why not?
5. How do we expect to keep our youth from leaving the church when we give them every chance to do whatever they feel like doing such as unrestricted telephone contact and visitation (even cross-country, solo visits) and unsupervised access to dark parking lots during and after church services?
6. Have we gone so far in our worship services as to have modern, contemporary music coupled with praise dancers replacing our heavenly, anointed worship that will move a sinner and strengthen a saint?
7. In regards toward holiness, do we actually believe that holiness must be maintained whether we are in church or alone with no one around?
8. Is it appropriate to have a membership at a modern, co-ed type health club where everybody there wears shorts, tank-tops (or no shirt for men in some instances), and halter tops (or sports tops for women)?
9. Is it maintaining holiness life styles when some pull on bathing suits and go mixed bathing?
10. Can we expect the tight skirts on some of our ladies and the baggy pants on some of our men to become the norm in our walk toward sacrificial living?
11. Will we ever allow the women to “trim the dead ends” of their hair so they will not be “embarrassed” when they are around the working women of our day?
12. Will the wedding rings and “modest accents” of jewelry that is appearing in our churches simply be overlooked long enough that they eventually are accepted as being okay?
13. Will remarriage after divorce become the accepted position of our modern Apostolic message and preachers?
14. Will we modify the apostle Paul’s instruction concerning the qualifications of the ministry to be “one wife at a time”?
15. Will television, video, DVD, and the internet eventually replace our prayerful dedication and our witnessing as God’s Spirit leads us to contact lost souls?
16. What is next for the coming Apostolic generation? Pre-prepared sermon notes are available for anyone who will order the books. Where is the soul-searching, heavenly-anointed preaching to come from if we depend on anything other than God’s holy word to edify the body of Christ?
Brethren, if we do not adhere to the old paths that our fathers have given us, we are bound to forget where God has brought us from, to forget about and never again see the miracles and revivals our pioneers prayed into each meeting, and to eventually become just like every other Christian denomination. I am afraid many have settled for that type of charismatic walk already. I pray that God give to each of us the desire to be renewed in the power of God that was “once delivered to the saints”. When we hold fast that “form of doctrine” that was delivered to us, God will be there for us just as He was there for our fathers.
Sincerely Yours in Christ, Brother David Sheppard
From, “Apostolic Standard”/February 2009/Page 10-11, by David Sheppard